Brian De Palma’s Passion is premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and a trailer has been released to mark the occasion. The film is an Americanized retelling/remake of the late Alain Corneau’s French thriller Crime d’amour (Love Crime), starring Kristen Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier.
The trailer for De Palma’s film features Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris) as Christine, a successful player in the “dog-eat-dog world of international business.” Whereas Thomas comfortably occupied the role of a (figurative) seasoned lioness – who revels in the joys of money and power as much as her male peers – the 18-years-younger, wide-eyed, McAdams seems like less of a natural fit.
We are also introduced to Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) as Christine’s protégé, Isabelle, whose naivety and earnest admiration of the former makes it easy for her boss to steal her subordinate’s ideas. McAdams, despite her questionable casting, suffices as the sultry foil to Rapace, whose inexperience makes it dangerous for her to navigate the treacherous waters of dirty business. Nonetheless, the fact that McAdams and Rapace are, in essence, the same age, makes it difficult to accept that one is so much more experienced than the other (whereas, in Love Crime, Thomas was 19 years older than Sagnier).
Moving on: quick shots of a blindfolded McAdams seeking out her lover (wearing a creepy-as-hell effeminate mask) – as well as the two lead actresses flirting with one another in the comforts of Christine’s limousine – further tease how the two become ensnared in a web of lustful obsession, jealousy, betrayal, and eventually something even more sinister (ie. the “m word”).
De Palma has famously done this dance before with erotically-charged psycho-thrillers like Dressed to Kill and Body Double, but that was some 2-3 decades ago. The filmmaker’s long worn Hitchcockian influences on his sleeve, but his recent Noir genre exercises (Femme Fatale, The Black Dahlia) haven’t earned him as much critical love as his psycho-sexual artistry from back in the day.
Nonetheless, Passion appears to possess the visual styling and suspenseful atmosphere that have defined the best of De Palma’s output; so, on those merits alone, the film is worthy of attention. It has yet to secure a U.S. release date, but will be touring the festival circuit in such cities as New York and Venice, following its Toronto showing (in the hopes of landing a domestic distributor).
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