Passion — 5/10

PASSION (2013, Brian De Palma)

Makes SIDE EFFECTS look like BLOW OUT.

Seriously, this is De Palma just doing second-rate De Palma. I love the guy to death, and can count on one hand the number of bigger fanboys I know. (If you want a horrible evening, try spending it listening to me gush about FEMME FATALE, BODY DOUBLE, and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE; you’ll be hanging yourself by the end). But even I couldn’t buy this. First of all, the voyeur material has been done much better (in all three films listed above, as well as DRESSED TO KILL and more), with everything from spying cameras and mirrors and technology to high-angle peeping-tom-ism. So it isn’t like De Palma is saying anything new. Secondly, while he still knows how to frame a shot, move a camera, cut a frame, and dazzle with split-screens, split-diopters, and split-personalities, De Palma seems to have forgotten how to ground it in a suspenseful plot. I couldn’t give two shits about anything going on here because I didn’t believe I was watching people. Rapace has never been worse (she didn’t impress me in DRAGON TATTOO or PROMETHEUS, but she’s really not on the De Palma wavelength here), and McAdams almost seems contemptuous of the material — kind of like a serious version of Elizabeth Banks rolling her eyes at the script. There are certainly flashes here and there of the peerless genius we’ve been seeing for 40 years, but I’m starting to fear that at age 72, the poor guy has majorly lost a step.

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