By William Wolf


Writer-director Brian De Palma is a master when dealing with sex-charged, suspenseful, atmosphere-filled tales with elements of physical or psychological violence. His skill is provocatively on display in “Passion,” a remake of Alain Corneau’s French film, “Crime d’amour (Love Crime). The story transfers well to a Berlin setting with an advertising agency at the center. It also benefits from astute casting.

But the trouble with films like “Passion” is that a problem often comes at the denouement. Once we know the score there can be a let down. This is true not only of movies, but of written mysteries even such as some by Agatha Christie. The strong aspect of “Passion” is that there is plenty to enjoy along the convoluted way.

Foremost are the two principle women, Rachel McAdams as the ambitious, clever and attractive Christine, who has a high managerial post in an ad agency. Her assistant Isabel is played by Noomi Rapace of the Swedish film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Here she is entirely different, making her especially interesting in another sort of role, although vengeance does play a part in the story. Isabel is low-key but smart and after she comes up with a good marketing idea, she upsettingly finds that Christine is taking all the credit. Not only that. Showing off her power, Christine embarrasses Isabel by mocking her in front of the staff.

There is a sexual undertone to the film, with some kinky stuff, and of course, a few other key characters in the mix, well-played by Paul Anderson and Karoline Herfurth. De Palma inventively maximizes the eerie tenseness and the visuals are superb. Telling more would be a spoiler. You’ll have to sift through the convolutions, but no matter how you feel about the ending, getting there offers plenty of kinky fun.


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