ⓘ Passion (2012 film)

Passion (2012 film)

ⓘ Passion (2012 film)

Passion is a 2012 erotic thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma, starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. It is an English-language remake of Alain Corneaus 2010 thriller film Love Crime, but with the ending greatly altered. The film is an international co-production between France and Germany. The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.


1. Plot

Christine, an American advertising executive working in Germany, is working with her protege Isabelle on an ad campaign for a new smartphone. Isabelle, who is secretly having an affair with Christines boyfriend Dirk, comes up with a well-received marketing idea. When Christine claims it as her own, Isabelle is disappointed but reconciles with her boss when Christine shares the story of how her twin sister died. At the urging of her loyal assistant Dani, Isabelle uploads a self-made version of her ad to the web, where it goes viral. Angered at the attention Isabelle has received, Christine vows revenge, taunting her with a sex tape which Isabelle had made with Dirk. After an angry Isabelle crashes her car in the companys parking garage, Christine shares the security footage with the rest of the company, humiliating Isabelle who spirals into a depression and begins abusing pills. Christine tries to get Dani fired and then threatens Isabelle with a letter she typed on Isabelles computer vowing revenge.

After Christine is found dead, Isabelle is arrested and confesses to the murder while in a drug-induced stupor. Based on her confessions, the revenge note, and fibres matching a scarf which Isabelle was seen wearing, the police charge her with murder. However, they drop the charges when they discover someone who saw Isabelle at the opera that night and when Dani discovers Isabelles scarf, undamaged, in her apartment. The police learn that Dirk, who was in the neighbourhood at the time of the murder, had been embezzling money and Christine discovered this. When they find a bloody scarf in his car they arrest him.

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 is secretly in love with Isabelle, reveals that she had captured Isabelle on video 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 detective. Suddenly, Christines 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.


2. Cast

  • Karoline Herfurth as Dani
  • Paul Anderson as Dirk Harriman
  • Dominic Raacke as J.J. Koch
  • Noomi Rapace as Isabelle James
  • Benjamin Sadler as Prosecutor
  • Michael Rotschopf as Attorney Isabelle
  • Rachel McAdams as Christine Stanford
  • Rainer Bock as Inspector Bach
  • Max Urlacher as Jack

3. Production

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 Rapaces Swedish films, and De Palma was impressed by Rapaces performances. He saw Rachel McAdams performance in Mean Girls and decided to cast her as Christine.

The film was shot in Berlin. Notable landmarks included the DZ Bank building. De Palma used 35mm film to shoot the film.


4. Release

Passion screened in competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival in September 2012. Metrodome, the films 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. Its a turbulent theatrical market and we felt this was the best way to launch the film to UK audiences."


5. Reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 70 reviews, and an average rating of 5.49/10. The websites 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." Metacritic calculates a weighted average score 53 out of 100 based 22 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".

Robert Bell of Exclaim! rated the film 8 out of 10, writing: "Its just unfortunate that those unfamiliar with the directors 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 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 directors 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 auteurs 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".


6. Box office

Released in fourteen theatres, 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 films 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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