Passion Play (film)

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Passion Play
Rebecca Wang Entertainment presents "Passion Play"
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mitch Glazer
Produced by Daniel Dubiecki
Megan Ellison
Written by Mitch Glazer
Starring Mickey Rourke
Megan Fox
Rhys Ifans
Bill Murray
Kelly Lynch
Cinematography Christopher Doyle
Edited by Billy Weber
Distributed by Image Entertainment[1]
Release dates
  • September 10, 2010 (2010-09-10) (Toronto)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $3,669

Passion Play is a 2010 American drama film written and directed by Mitch Glazer, executive produced by Rebecca Wang and starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Rhys Ifans and Bill Murray. Filming for the production began in December 2009 and is presented by Rebecca Wang Entertainment.[2][3] It premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.


Nate (Mickey Rourke), a small-time jazz musician and recovering heroin addict, is clearly a hard-luck case. After a performance one night, he is mugged and bound. He awakens to find himself in a vehicle and being driving out to the desert, but is helpless to do anything about it. His assailant then walks him away from the car, and is about to kill Nate, but the assailant is shot dead by a band of Native Americans, and Nate is left unharmed. Nate wanders around for a while, and eventually finds a sideshow, and is drawn to the exotic beauty of Lily (Megan Fox), a freak performer who has wings on her back. Lily is cold and dismissive, but it dawns on her that this gentle giant may well be her ticket to a better life. The sideshow owner (Rhys Ifans) attempts to kill Nate, but Lily rescues him by stealing a truck, and together they flee to the city.

Nate and Lily begin to form a relationship. Nate, fearing another assassination attempt, seeks out Happy Shannon (Bill Murray), a gangster with deep pockets who ordered Nate killed after Nate slept with his wife, whom he also had murdered. Nate plans to put Lily on display for paying customers, and offers Happy 75 percent of the proceeds. Happy dismisses the proposal and does not believe that Lily has wings, but later sees for himself when Nate arranges an appearance of Lily for him, but at a safe distance.

Nate and Lily go to a motel, talk, and then have sex. Happy finds them and then abducts Lily, but to keep Lily compliant, he agrees not to harm Nate so long as Nate stays away from Lily. Nate realizes he is in love with Lily, and attempts to break her out of Happy's custody, but fails.

Later, Nate discovers Lily is being showcased in a theater by Happy, and again goes to rescue her. Together, Lily and Nate run to the top of the building, chased by Happy's men. Nate tries to convince Lily to fly away, but Lily does not have confidence in her ability to fly. Nate then jumps off the building, and Lily jumps after him, discovering that she can indeed fly. She catches Nate before he hits the ground, and together they fly off into the desert.

Nate looks down on the ground below as they are flying, and sees his own corpse at the spot in the desert where the Native Americans had shot his assailant, suggesting that everything that happened from that point forward was actually a dying dream. He is last seen being carried away by Lily into the sky.



An incompletely edited cut of Passion Play premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto.[5]

Festival reviews included Variety describing it as "Perversely eccentric and frequently inert."[6] In a video review, David Poland extended his condolences to Glazer for his 20-year dedication in realizing the project, but described the experience as "an absolute car wreck."[7] eFilmCritic's Erik Childress left the screening after an hour and declared it "Awful."[8] Karina Longworth from Village Voice asserted that "it's hard to imagine that anyone will take Passion Play nearly as seriously as it takes itself."[9]

Reviews of the film were negative, as it currently holds a three percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[10]


Despite initial reports that the film was going straight to DVD due to the negative critical reaction at the Toronto International Film Festival, Image Entertainment announced Passion Play would be given a limited theatrical run, starting on May 6 in New York and Los Angeles.[11]

Glazer confirmed the new release had a final cut vastly improved by a "generation" from the very rough cut screened in Toronto.[12]


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