"Passion," a new film by director Brian De Palma, stars Rachel McAdams as a scheming corporate executive. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman filed the following report for NY1.
"Passion," Brian De Palma's latest voluptuously ludicrous thriller, features his buzziest A-list cast in a while, and the presence of Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace seems to have rooted De Palma in the real world, at least for the first half.
The movie starts out as a reasonably contained satire of office politics. McAdams, as an executive at a media-technology company, uses her brightly sexy billboard smile and crisp, emphatic delivery to nail a certain type of troublemaker of a boss who buries her aggression in fake sincerity.
Rapace, who seems like the tremulous and servile one but may in fact be an even more competitive head case, gives a performance that keeps viewers guessing.
The women's sisterly bond teeters into romance and then treachery, but it's all just an excuse for De Palma to go hog-wild with indulgence.
After having kept his gliding-camera impulses under submission for close to an hour, he then gives in to them like a recovering alcoholic reaching for a shot of Wild Turkey.
Why, for five minutes, does half the screen show McAdams walking through her house, tracked by camera movement that's less Hitchcockian than Halloween-ian, as the other half depicts a ballet performance Rapace is attending? Because De Palma just wanted to split the screen and score an entire thriller sequence to Debussy's "The Afternoon of a Faun."
"Passion" turns into vintage De Palma, which is to say that the film makes very little sense and seems almost engineered to get you giggling at the extravagance of its absurdity.