FROM HIS REVIEW: SET IN BERLIN AD AGENCY "WHERE THE GLASS PLANES & SLASHING ANGLES SUGGEST THE APPLE STORE OF DR. CALIGARI"
Add one more to the list of theaters that will be adding Brian De Palma's Passion tomorrow: The Belcourt in Nashville, Tennessee (it has been added to both the eOne list in the sidebar, and to our post from yesterday). Nashville Scene's Jim Ridley, who has written one of my favorite reviews of the film, will introduce the 9:30pm show of Passion tomorrow night (Friday) at the Belcourt. Ridley's review is a great read, so I suggest reading the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:
"De Palma borrows the hothouse plot of Alain Corneau's 2010 French thriller Love Crime — its co-writer, Natalie Carter, gets a dialogue credit here — but gives it a cold-to-the-touch sheen and a clammy metallic palette that's at ironic odds with the title. (It was shot on 35mm but transferred to digital, which mutes the steamy lushness that marks De Palma's thrillers.) When color bleeds through this sterile environment, it's typically the siren-red lipstick worn by Christine (Rachel McAdams), a coolly kinky executive at a Berlin advertising agency where the glass planes and slashing angles suggest the Apple Store of Dr. Caligari.
"So self-obsessed she likes her lovers to wear a doll-mask facsimile of her own features, Christine is grooming an avid protégé, Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), who covets her boss's power and modernist digs down to the upholstery on her sofa. De Palma poses them in the frame like mirror images, and Christine can't help but try shaping her underling into a human selfie. 'You need some color,' she coos to Isabelle, applying her lipstick as well as her lips."
Ridley concludes his review with these words:
"The justly famous centerpiece of Blow Out has Travolta reconstructing a sequence we've already watched using magazine stills, adding elements of cinema — sound, editing, projection — to reveal a crime that took place right before our eyes. The underlying theme of [De Palma's] movies is that people are so accustomed to looking that they've forgotten how to see. A viewer's impatience with Passion's dull police procedural all but guarantees he'll be blindsided by the elaborate trap the director is laying in plain sight.
"When De Palma springs it, in a denouement of spiraling delirium that deploys tropes from across his career, the laughter it produces is eruptive — part giddiness at watching the dominoes topple, part amused acknowledgement of how thoroughly we've been suckered. But in some ways, the altered media landscape De Palma sends up has the last laugh. The first new film in six years by the movies' most extravagantly gifted visual artist made its arrival via video on demand — consigned to TV and the tiniest of portals except in relatively few cities, of which Nashville is one. Pace Norma Desmond, the picture is big; it's the screens that have gotten small. But this portability has a side effect. It means this devious little gem can be passed around forever — like a secret, like a virus, like a clip you've just gotta share."