Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 23rd, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Germany / France, 2012
Director: Brian De Palma
writers: Brian De Palma, Natalie Carter, Alain Corneau
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson, Rainer Bock, Benjamin Sadler, Michael Rotschopf, Max Urlacher
BluRay released: November 5th, 2013
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: E One Entertainment
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: The rivalry between a protégée and her boss quickly turns deadly when one of them is publicly humiliated by the other.
As a fan of cinema there are always genres that we are drawn to more than others and it should not come as a surprise that filmmakers also have genres that they are most drawn too. For me the more interesting and entertaining for my money is the thriller genre. A genre that Alfred Hitchock all but set the ground rules for and a genre that Brian De Palma has flourished in throughout his career. With a few of his most notable contributions to the thriller genre being films like Dressed to kill and Blow Out.
After a five year break from directing De Palma returned last year with the erotic charged thriller Passion, a film that finds its origins in that of another film a French thriller titled Crime d’amour. It is this same French film from which Passion has been adapted from.
Narrative wise things are pretty straight forward; well at least the first two acts are fairly conventional. That is until the film’s pivotal final act comes around and then things start to go awry. This shift from reality to a realm that is rooted in the darkest recess of one’s mind is most welcomed. Since the opening set up for this film almost gives off the imprecation that this is a soap opera and not a murder mystery. To further reinforce the lack of danger early on the moments which should signal that something big is important is about to happened are not fully taken advantage of. In the thriller genre timing is everything and once momentum is lost, regaining your audience’s attention is an upward battle.
Without giving away too much of what happens in this film’s final act. Let me just say that from a visual stand point it features all the style and then some that we have come to expect from a De Palma film. There are a nightmarish quality to this film’s final act that is deeply satisfying. Unfortunately it is not enough to save what is actually a rather pedestrian thriller.
With that being said the performances range from tolerable to good. With this film’s most memorable performance not coming from its two leading ladies, but from Karoline Herfurth (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) in the role of Isabelle James assistant named Dani. Isabelle James is portrayed by Noomi Rapace’a (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). While the most underwhelming performance coming from Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) in the role of Christine Stanford, the manipulative boss who’s character takes credit for work Isabelle James created and is well received by the board members that want to use it for the their next ad campaign.
One positive about this film that should not go unnoticed is Pino Donaggio’s superb score that gives this film some much needed atmosphere. It is his first collaboration with De Palma in twenty years. Though there are a handful of moments that remind us of what De Palma is capable of as a filmmaker. Ultimately because of its short comings Passion is a hard sale that even the most ardent De Palma fan will have trouble defending.
Passion comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Details look sharp, colors look accurate, black levels look consistently great and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English. Range wise the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix never disappoints, especially when it comes to the score or more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for film and a seven minute segment with director Brian De Palma and actresses Rachel McAdamsand Noomi Rapace, who discuss the film’s two main characters. Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from E One Entertainment. Overall Passion gets a solid audio / video presentation from E One Entertainment.
Note: E One Entertainment are also releasing this title on DVD.