Written & Directed by Brian De Palma
So I recently watched a YouTube video of Edgar Wright, “What’s In My Bag” in which he mentioned a Brian De Palma film I had never heard of before. Having studied Carrie for my horror module last year, I thought I was pretty confident in all things De Palma related. Turns out this film was only released in 2012/13 and is a remake of the French film Crime d’amour. So I searched Netflix and lo and behold, it streams the film I was looking for. Passion.
Starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace (a collaboration of two of my all-time favourite actresses), Passion is a tale of lust, revenge and bloody murder. All of my favourite things in one film, the Film Gods must have been looking down on me that night. It starts as a tale of two business associates with very clear sensual underlying chemistry, a forceful Blonde, Rachel McAdams’ Christine, in which she channels some of the old Regina/ Mean Girls evilness, and Noomi Rapace’s Isabelle a quiet underling whose sanity comes into question, just as she comes into her own. It begins as a tale of a ball busting executive taking credit for an assistant’s work, harmless enough unless you bring into that adultery, psychosis and, my old favourite, cold bloody murder.
As a Brian De Palma film, not only do you expect to be presented with the lustful male gaze, but the lustful male gaze intricately hidden through incredible camera work and editing decisions such as the split screen of a Ballet and beautifully choreographed throat slashing, as well as the “was it a dream or was it real” sequences which is one of my favourite directorial motifs of De Palma. As a De Palma fan, you will not be disappointed.
De Palma’s focus on the two, possibly even three, female leads is refreshing, these women do not need men to help with their plans, men are used and abused then thrown to the dogs. I may sound a bit harsh on the male gender here, but as it is directed by a man, and therefore supposed to be viewed this way, I think I should be forgiven. These are two/three beautifully complicated characters in the male orientated world of work, for which Brian De Palma should be praised, he has characterised his women perfectly.
If you are going to watch this film for anything, do it for the anticipation of the tiniest bit of blood so beautifully put on the screen that it is as if De Palma has inverted his 1976 masterpiece, Carrie, proving he can create the same reaction without going to the extremes. If I could some this film up in two words it would be Subtly Beautiful. Or Complete Mind-fuck. You make the decision.