Jump to content


Photo

Passion

Brian De Palma Thriller

  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:13 PM

De Palma appears to be courting accusations of misogyny once again, judging by the provocative first image released for PASSION. See also the plot summary provided at the same link.

#2 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:04 PM

Trailer:


Edited by Ryan H., 23 August 2012 - 12:04 PM.


#3 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:05 PM

Predictably, the reviews are not overly enthusiastic:

Justin Chang, Variety
"But by the time it reaches its overwrought final act, the picture has generated neither the tension of its forebears nor the audacity that would allow it to transcend its silliness, a la De Palma's 2002 tour de force, "Femme Fatale." Yet even in the absence of stellar material, the leads remain compulsively watchable: McAdams may lack Scott Thomas' hauteur, but more than makes up for it in cool, svelte malevolence, while Rapace provides an energetic counterweight, lending her more naive but also more unpredictable Isabelle an edge of dark desperation."

Tommaso Tocci, Press Play
"The latter part of the movie proves that De Palma is still perfectly able to engage his own legacy and put a spin on it, but it’s also proof that the preceding part is simply unworthy of his talent. An anticlimactic conclusion for the Venice Competition, but hopefully yet another step in the evolution of a great director."

Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
"The director does get to deploy his trademark split-screen technique in one attention-grabbing sequence juxtaposing ballet and murder that achieves the desired confusion in terms of narrative sleight of hand. In general, however, 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."

Guy Lodge, HitFix
"So it’s with no small amount of dismay that I say that “Passion,” quite contrary to its title, is an eerily bloodless (if briefly ketchup-stained) contraption, a film noir so ploddingly un-alive to its own absurdities that its peaks of bad taste are rendered troughs by virtue of sheer humorlessness."

Lee Marshall, Screen Daily
"The erotic thriller turns limp in Brian de Palma’s latest take on the genre, where even the sexual decadence is of the clichéd lace and carnival-mask variety, and the high-profile casting of Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in the two main roles works a lot better on paper than it does in practice. Returning to the territory of Dressed To Kill and Body Double, the veteran US director finds surprisingly little to add to his source material, the late Alain Corneau’s final film, Love Crime, about the sexually-charged rivalry between a female boss and her protégée."

Edited by Ryan H., 07 September 2012 - 12:06 PM.


#4 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:44 PM

Daniel Kasman and Fernando Croce (who covered TIFF for MUBI) are head-over-heels in love with PASSION.

Kasman:

But the real film legacy project here at TIFF is Brian de Palma's Passion—for me, the film (or, actually, video) of the festival so far. It is an old man's movie par excellence, taking film history as the subject of a work of cinema that would better fit within the context of the experimental works in the Wavelengths section than in the multiplex in which it was shown, seemingly baffling an audience expecting a semblance of realism from the screen. Its oldmanness is the deep, precise pursuit of the conventions of the cinema De Palma has been engaging with for the length of his career, and thereby engaging his career itself.


A remake of the solid Alain Corneau corporate thriller Love Crime, De Palma plunges without hesitation into the iconography, audience expectations, and conventions of noirs, sex thrillers, corporate intrigue, post-Hitchcock films and Brian De Palma movies themselves, retaining the shell appearance of all of these things but hollowing them from the inside out. The result is something out of late Resnais—a study of a study. And that study, of course, is of the cinema image. Remember how Rebecca Romijn watches Stanwyck in Double Indemnity at the beginning of Femme Fatale, as if taking notes? The characters in Passion have taken notes from Femme Fatale: an abstraction based on a fiction based on a fantasy. It is complex, dextrous, and awkward: Rachel McAdams plays and acts the seductive, power hungry blonde in a performance that is like a kabuki imitation of the type; Noomi Rapace is her underling, friend, object of love and obsession, our heroine and, therefore, at first, directed to act “normally.” (This film's skewering of cinematic female friendship is twisted, sinister, cynical and terribly interesting.) Like in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, but far more knowingly, cleverly, the director is here forcing a confrontation between two entirely different acting styles and kinds of characters. In Passion, one is ostensibly a hollow signifier, the other our, the audience's, psychological subject, person of empathy. Except the film, lurchingly structured in three fascinating sections, with the middle one styled radically differently, introduces a third character, another woman (which brings the collection to: a blonde, a brunette and a redhead), who begins to appear more normal as Rapace's character enters deeper into the story and begins to be abstracted by the movements and conventions of her plot. We lose our focus on one as another comes in. Where the film leaves us, after developing this schema and then following its "thrills" to the end, is truly disturbing.



Croce:

Ah, Passion. Perhaps not the film of the festival for me (that’s still Like Someone in Love), but certainly the one that most tickled my cinephilia. Like Kiarostami’s film, it’s a wondrous feat (a series of feats, really) of misdirection. Who are these characters who look like Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace and Karoline Herfurth but are actually gimlet-eyed projections from cinema’s past? Abstractions, sure, yet when do abstractions exude such a feeling of heated flesh, of shards of fantasies being moved around the screen like drops of mercury? The layers upon layers of De Palma’s artifice dare us to find out. It’s a crazy, thorny spiral of a movie, not “campy” but funny. Think of McAdams, done up like a parody of Grace Kelly (her blonde hair for some reason looking like a wig) in her wood-paneled office with the word “IMAGE” spelled in red, blocky letters behind her. Or of Rapace ramming her car into a Coke machine (De Palma’s Godardian side is always present), followed by a crying jag and a sudden rain that are, like everything on screen, not what they seem. (A camera movement reveals the fire-alarm sprinkler drenching the character from above, and, of course, the security lenses recording it all.)



#5 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,780 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:37 PM

Intriguing! Now if only the film could find a U.S. distributor.

#6 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:16 PM

I'm hoping I can catch PASSION at the Philadelphia Film Festival (the lineup hasn't been announced yet).

#7 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,780 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:42 PM

Hey, maybe it'll come to the Virginia Film Festival in November! (It won't. But ... maybe?)

#8 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,682 posts

Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:07 PM

Over at the AV Club, Noel Murray and Scott Tobias are a little more enthusiastic.

Murray:

There’s a great bit in a Seinfeld episode where Elaine tries to get a New Yorker editor to explain a cartoon that she doesn’t get, and after pontificating pretentiously for a moment or two, the editor finally admits, “I like the kitty.” That’s the way I often feel when I try to defend Brian De Palma to skeptics. I could wax on about how De Palma’s new erotic thriller Passion is about the difficulty of maintaining a sterling public identity in an age when security cameras and cell phones are capturing our every move, waiting for us to slip. But that doesn’t really explain why the first half-hour of the movie is so flat, or why so much of the plot (taken almost verbatim from Alain Corneau’s recent Love Crime) is so preposterous, or why the last 10 minutes (wholly a De Palma invention) makes no damn sense. I’d be more honest if I just said, “There’s a scene where a character gets stalked and killed on one half of a split-screen, while the other half shows a fourth-wall-breaking performance of Afternoon Of A Faun, and it is awesome.” Ultimately, I have to admit that when it comes to De Palma, I mostly just like the kitty.


Tobias:

De Palma’s vision of an office constructed of glass and screens is a witty play on transparency—no secrets can be obscured when every surface is a window. But as Noel suggests, Passion doesn’t kick into gear until the second half, when De Palma’s labored plotting ends and he can finally uncork one dazzling setpiece after another. The film has the for-fans-only quality of other little-loved De Palma exercises like Femme Fatale, Raising Cain, or Body Double, but, you know, I like the kitty, too.



#9 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,780 posts

Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:28 AM

Zacharek's review of The Master nails something about the dismissive critical response to De Palma's work:

Isn’t it a lot more boring to march around on a filmmaker’s behalf, trumpeting the significance of intentions and reputations, than it is to wrangle with the actual movies? When Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder debuted in Venice last month, a significant portion of the audience reportedly booed. (I wasn’t there to hear it.) Several critics took to their Twitter feeds to decry the booing, asserting that Malick’s film, whatever its flaws might be, deserved serious, thoughtful consideration rather than just a kneejerk response.

But then, shouldn’t that be true of a movie made by any filmmaker? (Oddly enough, or maybe not, when Brian De Palma’s equally divisive Passion debuted at the festival a few days later and was also apparently greeted with boos, no one took to Twitter in protest.)

#10 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 20 September 2012 - 06:58 PM

De Palma has his devotees, and for them, De Palma is one of the greatest American filmmakers. But it seems that many critics, even if they have derived some pleasure from De Palma's work, don't think of him as a filmmaker worth taking seriously, or at least worth taking that seriously. (I recall reading a recent restrospective on Pauline Kael that criticized her for celebrating "minor" filmmakers, citing Brian De Palma as an example.) But De Palma has never really chased after respectability.

Edited by Ryan H., 25 March 2013 - 09:04 PM.


#11 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,780 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:40 AM

Love this today at GreeCine. If you don't like De Palma, don't even approach Passion. But if you do...

It's a truly fans-only effort: loyalists will love it and haters will have their distaste confirmed. With every "De Palma-esque" film, the director moves further and further up his own artistic colon, riffing on himself and expecting you to love his effects as much as he does. And why shouldn't he? Passion, like most of his work, is deliriously in love with the possibility of turning even the most basic shot into an event. The twists keep coming, but they're irrelevant for the total product, a mixture of delirious giggling at the auditory and visual excess that never lets up.

#12 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:39 AM

Love this today at GreeCine. If you don't like De Palma, don't even approach Passion. But if you do...

It's a truly fans-only effort: loyalists will love it and haters will have their distaste confirmed. With every "De Palma-esque" film, the director moves further and further up his own artistic colon, riffing on himself and expecting you to love his effects as much as he does. And why shouldn't he? Passion, like most of his work, is deliriously in love with the possibility of turning even the most basic shot into an event. The twists keep coming, but they're irrelevant for the total product, a mixture of delirious giggling at the auditory and visual excess that never lets up.

The rest of the review is even better.

I liked this bit, especially:

Detractors have largely given up on accusing De Palma of just selling Hitchcock rip-offs: the more he repeats himself, the clearer it is what makes him distinct. A more useful comparison might be David Lynch. Both De Palma and Lynch adore Vertigo, and both make movies in which their characters also often seem to be moving in a trance state. De Palma literalized this in 1978's The Fury, where telekinetic tyros in training are hypnotized to release their powers, but he uses the same visual language—slow zooms in on inexplicably fixed faces, somnambulant people wandering streets and hallways with no evident purpose—consistently.



#13 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,780 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:53 PM

Watching my first DP/30 now.

#14 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

Samples from Pino Donaggio's score are now online.

They're quite lovely.

#15 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:07 PM

PASSION gets a limited US release on June 7.

#16 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:43 PM

PASSION gets a limited US release on June 7.

Scratch that. It's released on 8/30, but will hit "On Demand" outlets (including iTunes) on 8/1.

#17 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:43 AM

So I had the opportunity to see PASSION via the French Blu-Ray release.

I was pretty impressed (it's easily De Palma's most fully-realized film since FEMME FATALE), but I suspect that those who aren't already inclined to admire De Palma will be less than enthusiastic. PASSION isn't the work of a filmmaker who feels as though he has anything to prove, but who is simply experimenting with cinema for his own pleasure. And when you're Brian De Palma, that still counts for quite a lot.

#18 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:46 AM

This is available via VOD today.

#19 Ryan H.

Ryan H.

    Riding the crest of a wave breaking just west of Hollywood

  • Member
  • 5,421 posts

Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:44 PM

F. Fred Pakalon on PASSION:

 

Dahlia was a portrait of Hollywood written in venom; Passion is a portrait of the corporate state drawn in arsenic. I do not think the title is an idle one – it is most definitely a play on the eternal passion, The Passion, as in The Passion of the Christ, a ridiculing of the modern ideal of corporation as creed, corporate life as the new religion, the corporation as a new christianity. The company which Christine and Isabelle work for is Koch Image International, and the coincidence of the name with a villainous fraternity is not, I think, idle either. The film is by an older man, yet it is a provocation on the order of Harmony Korine, undetected by viewers and critics: a corporate world re-telling of the Christ story. Christine’s name is a carryover from the original, but with a specific meaning: Christine.



#20 Evan C

Evan C

    Being led on an illegal suicide mission by a selfish maniac.

  • Member
  • 918 posts

Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:59 PM

Every time this thread gets bumped, I keep thinking it's about the Sondheim musical...







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Brian De Palma, Thriller