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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern has posted a Rachel McAdams-centric review of Brian De Palma's Passion. "After years of playing the good girl," writes Stern in the introduction, "Rachel McAdams returns to her Mean Girls roots with a deliciously entertaining turn as a bitchy, kinky, bisexual ad executive in Passion." Stern's description of some of McAdams' scenes from the movie can be said to contain some minor spoilers:

"The film opens with Christine (McAdams), a Machiavellian executive at a Berlin-based ad firm, cozied together on a couch with rising ad star Isabelle, played by Noomi Rapace. The pair needs to conceive an innovative ad campaign for a new Panasonic mobile phone. Christine is very flirtatious, giggling, caressing, and locking eyes with her ambitious underling. When their brainstorming session is interrupted by the arrival of her sleazy British sex toy, Dirk (Paul Anderson), Christine is noticeably perturbed. She kisses Isabelle goodbye—on the mouth.

"We’re then treated to a tight close-up of McAdams’s face against a bedpost. She is, judging by her half-hearted squeals, receiving mediocre oral sex. Suddenly, a man’s head emerges in the frame wearing a hybrid Phantom of the Opera Kabuki mask.

"This all looks like the start of a beautiful lesbian affair—that is, until Isabelle crafts a knockout ad campaign for the phone, a campaign for which Christine immediately takes credit. Christine, it seems, needs to knock this out of the park so she can receive a promotion and transfer back to the company’s Manhattan offices. Isabelle doesn’t take the move lying down, and immediately uploads her commercial to YouTube. After it goes viral, it’s Isabelle who receives all the kudos from the company brass, and the proverbial claws come out.

"Passion could easily be retitled Mad Women, with its sleazy ad biz setting and estrogen overload. When the pouty Dani (Karoline Herfuth), Isabelle’s redhead sexy assistant—who also has a crush on her—calls out Christine on her shady behavior, Christine replies, 'You want to eat my c--t, don’t you?' before violently kissing her, ripping her own blouse, and threatening her with a charge of sexual harassment. It’s a pretty jarring scene—especially the usage of the c-word—coming from the typically virtuous McAdams, whose cute visage, replete with a small face, a beauty mark, and kind, blue eyes is disarmingly sinister when she flips the switch.

"Later, after Dirk refuses to service Christine, she calls up every man in her phone until someone will come over and pleasure her. The action then cuts to Christine on the phone in a bathtub, as two hands place a shiny diamond necklace around her neck. Then the man’s face comes into frame, and he’s wearing a black leather pig-shaped gimp mask.

"While Passion makes several leaps in logic and is, like so much of De Palma’s recent oeuvre, overstylized, with flashy visuals and a Hitchcockian score, this kinky B-movie is redeemed by Rapace and, in particular, McAdams, who will hopefully take a trip to the dark side more often."

Posted by Geoff at 12:49 AM CDT
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