Passion (2012 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian De Palma|
|Produced by||Saïd Ben Saïd|
|Written by||Brian De Palma|
|Based on||Love Crime|
by Alain Corneau
|Music by||Pino Donaggio|
|Cinematography||José Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||François Gédigier|
|Distributed by||ARP Sélection (France)|
Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (Germany)
|Box office||$1.3 million|
Passion is a 2012 erotic thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. It is the English-language remake of Alain Corneau's 2010 thriller film Love Crime, but with the ending greatly altered. The film is an international co-production between France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Christine, an advertising executive, is attempting to gain professional and romantic power over her up-and-coming subordinate, Isabelle, as revenge for her affair with Christine's lover, Dirk. Christine does everything in her power to ruin Isabelle's reputation and relationships. She also tries to fire Isabelle's secretary, Dani. Because of these events, Isabelle seemingly becomes emotionally destitute and develops an addiction to prescription drugs.
After Christine is found dead, Isabelle is arrested and confesses to the murder while in a drug-induced trance. Desperate to prove her innocence, Isabelle shows the police that she has an alibi on the evening the murder took place. Dirk, having been drunk after being rejected by Christine, is arrested after a scarf with Christine's blood on it turns up in his car. Isabelle is freed and Dirk is charged with the murder despite his denials.
Eventually, it is revealed that Isabelle had murdered Christine, and set everything up to convince everyone that she was having a nervous breakdown while framing Dirk for the crime. Dani, who secretly is in love with Isabelle, reveals that she had captured Isabelle on video with her cellphone at various moments during the night of the murder. Dani then tries to blackmail Isabelle into becoming her lover. That night, Isabelle has a strange dream where she strangles Dani after being seduced by her, but not before Dani sends the video incriminating Isabelle to the investigating police detective. Suddenly, Christine's twin sister appears and strangles Isabelle from behind with a bloodstained scarf. The next moment, Isabelle wakes up in her own bedroom from her nightmare only to face a new one with Dani lying dead at the foot of her bed.
- Rachel McAdams as Christine Stanford
- Noomi Rapace as Isabelle James
- Karoline Herfurth as Dani
- Paul Anderson as Dirk Harriman
- Rainer Bock as Inspector Bach
- Benjamin Sadler as Prosecutor
Noomi Rapace was cast as Isabelle after De Palma ran into a director in New York who was interested in having Rapace in his film. The director gave De Palma some of Rapace's Swedish films, and De Palma was impressed by Rapace's performances. He saw Rachel McAdams' performance in Mean Girls and decided to cast her as Christine.
Passion screened in competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival in September 2012. Metrodome, the film's UK distributor, sent the film straight to DVD and video on demand, stating that: "Brian De Palma has an in-built fan base, but a genre like this can be difficult to release theatrically. It's a turbulent theatrical market and we felt this was the best way to launch the film to UK audiences."
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 69 reviews, and an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "For better as well as worse, Passion is vintage Brian De Palma sexploitation — although with a storyline sillier than most, it fails to generate as much heat as his steamiest work." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score 53 out of 100 based 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Robert Bell of Exclaim! rated the film 8 out of 10, writing: "It's just unfortunate that those unfamiliar with the director's work will have absolutely no context for the abstract and oblique tonal shifts or the references, leaving them to dismiss the film as terrible." Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a "B" grade and Alan Pyke of Tiny Mix Tapes gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars. Peter Sobczynski of Roger Ebert.com gave the film a four-star rating, calling it "a spellbinding thriller", and DePalma "one of the great seducers of cinema".
Neil Young of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film negatively, commenting that "the impression is that De Palma is indulging himself with homages to his own Hitchcockian greatest hits, with results that veer close to self-parody on occasion and emphasize just how far this once-outstanding director's creative star has plummeted." Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times called the film a "sleekly trashy misfire". Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. Bruce DeMara of Toronto Star gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, describing the film as "a pale imitation of the auteur's best work".
Brian Clark of Twitch Film published a mixed review, while Ben Sachs of Chicago Reader wrote a favorable review, noting that De Palma interweaves themes such as corporate power, advertising, sexual desire, sadomasochistic relationships, and longing for love with a musicality comparable to his visual style. Calum Marsh of Esquire writes: "What makes Passion such a distinctively modern take on the now-antiquated erotic thriller is that it has a keen sense of humor about itself".
Released in fourteen theaters, Passion was positioned in 54th place at the box office during the weekend of its release, with a corresponding total revenue of US$33,400—after four weeks, the film's total takings were US$92,181. As of 26 September 2013, Passion garnered a total of US $1,301,226 in ticket receipts outside of the US, while the cumulative global box office revenue for the film was US $1,393,407.
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- Abele, Robert (30 August 2013). "Review: 'Passion'? It's not visible in Brian De Palma's directing". Los Angeles Times.
- Gonzalez, Ed (18 September 2012). "Passion - Film Review". Slant Magazine.
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- Clark, Brian (29 August 2013). "Review: PASSION, Great Erotic Fun That Doesn't Hold A Candle To De Palma's Best". Twitch Film.
- Sachs, Ben (12 September 2013). "Brian De Palma's Passion; or, hooked on classicism". Chicago Reader.
- Marsh, Calum (8 August 2013). "Is This the Return of the Erotic Thriller?". Esquire.
- Passion at Box Office Mojo