Brian De Palma’s CV is very eclectic, ranging from the mainstream to the independent, the slick and polished studio-movie to the trashy and bloody low-budget crime thriller. This movie occupies the ever growing gulf between mainstream and indie. It’s a French film, though is set in a variety of countries, about the high powered world of brand advertising. It’s all very sleek and shiny and feels quite a step away from Dressed to Kill or Obsession. But this sexually charged thriller has a lot in common with these old-style flicks than, say, Scarface or Mission: Impossible.
I have to say I find it irritating when American directors remake films originally not in the English language. Passion is actually an at times word-for-word remake of 2010’s French language movie Love Crime, which starred Kristen Scott Thomas. The interesting aspect to this remake is that it retains a lot of its European connections, though one could argue that adds to the pointlessness of the whole thing.
Anyway, leaving remake politics aside for the time being, this is quite a good solid thriller, neatly shot and competently acted. De Palma has an enthusiastic approach to melodrama and makes it all rather compelling without overloading the viewer on the intelligence-scale. This isn’t to say the film is stupid – quite the reverse – but it knows what it is, it’s aware of the sillier aspects to the story (as well as the downright bizarre behaviour of the police) and just goes with it.
Leading actors Noomi Repace and Rachel McAdams do well with their over-the-top roles and rightly play them with the strength and conviction they require. If either of these two had mistakenly thought they were in an Oscar-worthy Stephen Daldry drama, they would have ruined it. Luckily, everything they do is pumped up to one-hundred and it works rather well.
There will be some viewers who get the wrong end of the stick with this film. They’ll take it ultra-seriously and therefore dismiss it as over-the-top nonsense. The trick is to watch it knowing it’s ridiculous, knowing the whole thing will play out like an overflowing saucepan of blood-red soup, and enjoy it for what it is.
Passion (2013), directed by Brian De Palma, is released in the UK on DVD by Metrodome, Certificate 15. Click here to enter our comp to win a copy of the movie on DVD!