January 9, 2014

Business

Passion (Brian De Palma, 2012). The Brian De Palma erotic thriller has become almost conceptual by this point: the doubling, the dream sequences, the split screens, the killing with a knife and sometimes a mask (which we wait far too long for here), the Hitchcock quotes (Dial M for Murder), the twins, the blonde, the brunette … But a decade after the wild return to form that was Femme Fatale, Passion seems lethargic and under-powered. It doesn’t help that this year’s femme, or would-be Hitchcock blonde, is so pallid and the first hour, which she dominates, is such a drag. That’s Rachel McAdams as Christine Stanford, ruthless head of an advertising agency in a Berlin setting that could be anywhere – the protagonists are English speakers and the perfunctory business scenes have all the passion and intrigue of a corporate video. Things always improve when someone dies. But Rachel McAdams: she’s not even Melanie Griffith, let alone Tippi Hedren.