Synopsis: Christine (Rachel McAdams) possesses the natural elegance and casual ease associated with one who has a healthy relationship with money and power. Innocent, lovely and easily exploited, her admiring protegée Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) is full of cutting edge ideas that Christine has no qualms about stealing. They’re on the same team, after all... Christine takes pleasure in exercising control over the younger woman, leading her one step at a time ever deeper into a game of seduction and manipulation, dominance and humiliation. But when Isabelle falls into bed with one of Christine’s lovers, war breaks out.
Passion relies on McAdams-Rapace chemistry
by Stefan Dobroiu
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL: Five years after his war drama Redacted was screened in the Venice Film Festival competition, Brian De Palma comes back on the Lido with an entirely different film: set in the very competitive world of advertising, Passion tells a story of ambition, lust, duplicity and dangerous games.
Based on Alain Corneau's Crime d'amour, but adapted (or redacted?) to suit De Palma's favourite topics, Passion focuses on Christine (Rachel McAdams) and Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), two young women working on an advertising campaign for a new mobile phone. They seem best friends and they even exchange a kiss in a car, but when Christine steals Isabella's idea and uses it to get promoted, their relationship shifts to darker and darker areas.
With McAdams, Rapace, a perhaps too hasty comparison with Basic Instinct and the promise of campy pleasure as efficient hooks, Passion might have international success, but De Palma's noir struggles to find the right tone and becomes involuntarily funny at times. The changes in pace and some easy choices in terms of scriptwriting might make the audience's attention wonder, while the eyes are drawn by Berlin architecture, sumptuous outfits and some interesting and striking choices in art direction.
McAdams and Rapace communicate well on screen, but much more interesting is Karoline Herfurth's Dani, Isabelle's assistant, who makes things go even further when she intervenes between the two protagonists. Unfortunately, things get so complicated (the director uses dream sequences to blur the already blurred reality even more) that they almost border on incoherent. When the story's final strike comes, the audience might be too tired to enjoy De Palma's biggest surprise.
Read more exclusive contents on cineuropa.org.
Watch Films Online
Films on SBS TV
SBS Film Guide to...
Celebrate Australian filmmaking with this home-grown season. Starts May 25.
A month of movies with an edge. Saturday nights in April.