De Palma's Master Class in Style
Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace) works in advertising for Christine Stanford (Rachel McAdams) and she believes they have a close working relationship. That is until first Christine steals one of her ideas and then after taking the initiative and pushing her own ideas on a client finds that Christine can be evil as she sets out to humiliate her. But when Christine is murdered Isabelle finds herself the main suspect.
I am trying to picture what Brian De Palma's reaction is when he receives a script for a movie. Now I reckon some directors when they read a script will consider how interesting the story is and how interesting the characters are but in De Palma's case I think he considers how he can visualise each scene and if he can picture the movie then he goes for it. And there is nothing wrong with that except it makes for some incredibly ordinary movies which "Passion" ends up being.
Now "Passion" isn't a complicated movie we have Christine, a bitch of a boss, who uses and abuses the people around her with Isabelle discovering how nasty she is when first she gets hold of a sex tape and then shows everyone CCTV footage of her flipping out in her car. And so we have a murder, motives, accusations and of course twists because this is De Palma who has frequently channelled a bit of Hitchcock in his movies. But let me just say that if you cut out all the flourishes "Passion" could be condensed down to under 30 minutes as that is how short it is on story.
But as I said, I reckon Brian De Palma reads a script and if he can picture it from the camera angles to the use of blinds to throw shadows he goes with it. As such for fans of Brian De Palma what "Passion" delivers is 102 minutes of De Palma, stylized scene after stylized scene from blue lit offices to shots of staircases, split screens to characters in masks. Quite literally "Passion" over flows with style and for fans it probably is beautiful but for those who want story, characters, intrigue and more than just a suggestion erotica and lesbianism there isn't a great deal.
What this all boils down to is that "Passion" for me came up short of the mark because it took a slim idea for a story and then stretched it out till it was wafer thin. But for fans of De Palma in full on style mode this should entertain as it borders on a master class of creating stylish scenes.