The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Passion | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Passion

Remake of Alain Corneau's 'Love Crime'.

Directed by: Brian De Palma
Starring: Noomo Rapace, Rachel McAdams, Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson, Rainer Bock

At a multi-national advertising outfit in Berlin, executive Christine (McAdams) has a twisted working relationship with her assistant Isobel (Rapace), showing her affection to an almost romantic degree while stabbing her in the back at every opportunity. When Isobel comes up with a successful campaign for a Jeans brand, Christine takes credit for the idea, winning her a promotion to head of the company's New York branch. Isobel, following the advice of her loving, lesbian secretary Dani (Herfurth), lets the company CEO know that it's actually her idea and Christine is thus denied her opportunity in New York. This pits the two women against each other, their methods becoming dangerously aggressive.
American remakes of French films are nothing new, but De Palma's take on the late Alain Corneau's 2010 'Love Crime' is a curiosity. This isn't a case of Hollywood acquiring a property, in fact no major studio would touch material of this nature. Instead, we have the producer of the original, Said Ben Said, performing the same duty for the remake. Rather than relocate it from France to the U.S, De Palma's version moves the story to Germany. Said may have believed there was room for improvement over Corneau's film, but De Palma makes few changes to the original script. What little tampering he does serves to make the story unintentionally laughable, as he injects a lesbian sub-plot which he seems ill-equipped to explore.
Rapace is watchable as always but McAdams is badly miscast. For a start, she's at least ten years too young for the character. Anyone who saw Corneau's film can't help but compare her to Kristin Scott Thomas' brilliant take on the character. There simply is no comparison. Fans of the director, however, will note a resemblance between McAdams and De Palma's ex-wife, and star of several of his films, Nancy Allen. De Palma frames his shots almost identically to those of the original but throws in a split screen sequence which seems gratuitous until the twist is revealed. It's a neat trick from a film-maker with plenty up his sleeve. As a director, he's still got it, but the former "Movie Brat" insists on adapting the script himself. Writing has never been De Palma's strength and it's all too obvious here. The character of Dani is shoehorned into the story for two reasons: provide some lesbian sleaze, and act as a vessel for expository dialogue. The strings are all too visible in this movie, a major problem for a thriller.
I'm not usually one to moan about product placement, as I realize it's become a necessity for film-makers like De Palma to raise their budgets, but this movie has some of the most shameless examples I've witnessed. Worst of all is a brazen shot which zooms slowly into a laptop lid until the Apple logo completely fills the screen. Perhaps De Palma should be working on Madison Avenue now?

Eric Hillis