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Passion [Francia] [Blu-ray]
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Passion, 1 Blu-ray, 101 minutes
Deux femmes se livrent à un jeu de manipulation pervers au sein d'une multinationale. Isabelle est fascinée par sa supérieure, Christine. Cette dernière profite de son ascendant sur Isabelle pour l'entraîner dans un jeu de séduction et de manipulation, de domination et de servitude...
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I love both Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in other films, but I feel perhaps they were not used correctly here. Most Americans viewing this film will assume it's an original work if they haven't seen the previous French movie Love Crime (Crime D'Amour). In fact, Passion is a very close copy of the superior French film staring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier.
McAdams doesn't have as much of the look of power and authority required for a manipulative business executive (too young) and Noomi Rapace struggles trying to be the young ingénue up-and-comer in the company (she has the harder street smart look). Actually, if they just switched rolls I think Noomi could have projected the slightly more mature authority figure while Mcadams could be the young protégé. Where the French version builds the mystery within a mystery - piece by meticulous piece, the suspense mechanisms in this film come across trite and perfunctory by comparison. If you only watch the US version, you may find it a passable mystery at best unless you are a die hard De Palma fan. Additionally, I didn't find the chemistry between McAdams and Rapace that convincing and the movie as a whole just wasn't that sexy, particularly for the R rating and hype surrounding the film.
THE PLOT (No spoilers): A rising female advertising executive uses the romantic infatuation of her bright young female assistant to manipulate her into giving ideas, which she steals to promote her own career. Further, she then humiliates the assistant once she has what she wants. The assistant is more than just a bright study with a penchant for powerful women. Needless to say, things take a dark turn for several of the characters involved. This is a little simplistic since both movies try to project more allegorical meanings while plumbing deep emotional and psychological depths. However, I don't wish to give any spoilers so I will leave it at that. There are also plot divergences between the two movies as they deal with the later half of the film and I found the previous French version more satisfying in that respect as well.
I would not call the French version a masterpiece, but it has great depth, meticulous construction of the crime, suspense, and believable sapphic infatuation. Ludivine Sagnier is far more sexy and believable as the naïve assistant that is initially manipulated in the affair.
De Palma fans will want to see this movie and may even appreciate it greatly. For other viewers it's probably a mixed bag.
Christine (Rachel McAdams) is the very manipulative and ambitious boss of a big ad agency abroad. Hoping to make it to New York City, she takes credit for the ideas of an attractive employee she likes to flirt with... setting off a chain of retaliation and revenge. I was enjoying the initial seduction. But it doesn't go ANYWHERE you really want it to go if you're hoping for some appealing chemistry and fooling around.
Rachel McAdams seems to be reprising her shallow Mean Girls blonde... all grown up, in charge, and probably a closet lesbian. She has this thing going with a slender male employee who wears a feminine mask when they boink, and I had a great laugh over the strap on he pulls out of her drawer (but no, we don't get to see her wear one dammit, lol)... unfortunately, we never get to see her play out her fantasies with any women either. Disappointing. Lustful looks and a few hugs and kisses is all the f/f action in this movie. Meh. Just another silly psycho lesbian thriller... a 1980s throwback.
McAdams was awesome and believable in Mean Girls... here I couldn't buy her as the boss with the similar persona (and looks). Too immature and crazy. I don't know. It just didn't work. But she sure was beautiful and stylishly dressed in any case. And when the movie only focuses on the brunette the last half hour... how dull it was. I laughed out loud at the ending, though I probably wasn't supposed to. Oh hell, I laughed all through this story even though I probably wasn't supposed to!! omg... this was so bad, lol. It shoulda been made as a (black) comedy. Regina George wasn't meant to be in any other genre. But I loved how stylish the filming was and how beautiful Rachel McAdams was. Disappointed she didn't get to play full on lesbian (yep, that's all I came here to find)... but what can I say. When you're a fan, you sit through the bad stuff, lol....
McAdams is in Regina George mode, playing Christine, more or less the head bitch in charge. Except now Regina is maybe fifteen years older, and hadn’t learned a single thing from the accident that almost claimed her life. Rapace, who I really did like in the Swedish “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” miniseries, has no reason to really be here. Her character Isabelle is gullible, stupid, confused and massively unlikable, even though I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to be the protagonist.
Brian DePalma has had massive success in movies like this in the past, but I hate to say that he should have let this one sit in post-production hell. McAdams and Rapace are both fine actresses, and they really do try their best, but these characters are so one-sided and so bland, that even talented actresses like these find themselves all dressed up with no place to go.
If you like a soap opera-esque story that reinforces hideous and misogynistic gender stereotypes, “Passion” might be for you. If you can’t see yourself liking a story that involves two gorgeous women fighting over an ugly man, as well as occasional lesbianism, murder, twin sisters that show up at inconvenient times, and a royal letdown of an ending, I say you should skip this one.
Based on a much better (but no classic) French movie called, in English, "Love Crime," this movie tells the story of rivalry of a senior ad executive and her assistant that arises when the senior executive steals the idea of her assistant. Like most French movies, the movie is worth watching, first, because the writing, like most French movies, treats its viewers like adults. The screenwriter doesn't insert into his movie dialogue that no one has ever uttered in the history of the spoken word because he trusts the movie's viewers to make inferences and guides them to the assumptions they need to make in order to make the movie realistic.
The second failure of Hollywood is that no one there knows how grown-ups behave. This is because there are no adults in Hollywood. Rachel McAdams is an adequate actor in light comedy playing ingénues, but she doesn't have a clue how to behave like an employee in an office, let alone a high powered business executive. In fairness to Ms. McAdams, almost no one else in Hollywood does either. Anyone who has spent any time in an office will find the dialogue totally implausible. In contrast, Ms. Scott Thomas is completely believable as a senior executive in Love Crimes and the office scenes were written by someone who either spent time in an office or has enough of an imagination to figure out how office workers behave.
Why does Hollywood keep proving to us that they produce a third rate product.