ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie Review: Passion (2013)

Updated on December 2, 2013

Director: Brian DePalma
Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Paul Anderson, Karoline Herfurth, Rainer Bock

There's a part of me that wants to recommend Passion. This is a slick, unabashedly sleazy sexploitation thriller from director Brian DePalma, and features terrific performances from two of the loveliest and most talented actresses working in the business. For a good hour, the movie absorbs you with its twisted tale of two competitive business women who constantly manipulate and back stab each other. Then it gets much darker, and delivers a murder sequence so fantastically orchestrated that it stands out as a small masterpiece of film making.

And falls apart. The movie turns into a murder mystery, and as it crosses the finish line, it starts to lose its way. Most mystery thrillers come with a Big Reveal in the end, and in a way, the twist to Passion plays fair in that the pieces of the puzzle were (sort of) adding up to it. The problem is that DePalma just doesn't know when to stop. After the killer is revealed, the movie plunges us into a final twenty minutes that's filled with red herrings, dream sequences, and plot developments which may or may not have actually occurred, and it starts to get more than a little ridiculous. In the end, we feel like we've been jerked around, and that is never a satisfying feeling to leave the audience with.

The movie, which is a remake of a 2010 movie called Love Crime (unseen by me), takes place in Berlin, Germany, and focuses on two business women who work for a global advertising firm. Rachel McAdams is Christine, a monstrous and ambitious executive in the firm, and Noomi Rapace is her mousy and naïve protege Isabelle. At first, these two seem like they have a solid working relationship, until Christine takes credit for a brilliant ad campaign for a smart phone that Isabelle devised, hoping it will get her the much coveted promotion to the New York office. "There's no backstabbing here," Christine tells her with a smug grin. "It's just business."

She was just a mean girl, but now she's downright psychotic! O_O
She was just a mean girl, but now she's downright psychotic! O_O

Oh, but backstabbing is exactly what it is. Isabelle, you see, is having a not-so-secret affair with Christine's boyfriend Dirk (Paul Anderson), and after Christine steals her idea, Isabelle goes behind her back and uploads the video ad on Youtube. Suddenly, the New York promotion is being offered to her, and Christine, who becomes enraged by Isabelle's deception, makes her it mission to privately and publicly humiliate her rival. She even blackmails Isabelle with a with a threatening e-mail Christine wrote and sent from Isabelle's computer.

Eventually, it becomes an all out war between the two, which eventually leads to the aforementioned murder sequence. DePalma beautifully uses a split-screen technique for the murder, having the violent act juxtaposed with a ballet performance scored by Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun." It's a rapturous, brilliantly conceived bit of film making, some of DePalma's best work since his movie Blow Out from 1981 (which is, I'd argue, his best film).

Assuming you haven't seen the trailer, I'm deciding not to reveal the identity of the victim, the character who becomes the prime suspect, and the details involving the investigation. This portion of the film pays homage to Hitchcock's favorite theme of an innocent wrongfully accused of a crime, and for a while, the movie keeps you guessing. Is the accused actually guilty, or is there a much darker plot at play? The movie hints at that, what with the way it mutes a dialogue exchange between Christine and Dirk, as well as the curious behavior of Isabelle's adoring assistant Dani (Karoline Herfurth), who has a not-so-secret lesbian crush on Isabelle.

My, what red lips you have!
My, what red lips you have!

Then the identity of the killer is revealed, and while the twist stretches credibility (given everything that we've learned), we accept it, because the movie has created a spell by that time, and we're anxious to see where it goes next. Unfortunately, the events in the final twenty minutes – which include multiple stranglings and a crucial piece of evidence which may or may not have been sent to a police inspector – are handled in such a bizarre and hallucinatory way that none of it ends up making any sense. I actually went to IMDB after watching the film to see if anyone could make heads or tails of it (sometimes they offer better insight into a movie than professional critics), but even the majority of people there seemed as stumped by the ending as I was. When the words "The End" appear over the screen, I was very unhappy with the movie.

That's a shame too, because it features very strong work from both McAdams and Rapace. Rapace, in particular, is very good playing a character who initially seems meek and timid, but gradually reveals a darker side we wouldn't initially suspect from her. The cinematography by Jose Luis Alcaine is often times breathtaking, and the musical score by Pino Donaggio is wonderfully atmospheric. All this means, however, is that the movie is all dressed up with nowhere to go. Brian DePalma may have set out to make Passion into a bit of trashy fun, but in the end, the movie simply comes across as trashy.

Final Grade: ** ½ (out of ****)

What did you think of this movie? :)

3 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Passion (2013)

If you decide to see this movie, DO NOT watch any trailers prior to it! Otherwise, here you are.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)