Passion (2012)


Genre: Erotic Thriller

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace

Synopsis: An assistant is in a love-hate relationship with her advertising executive boss, who proceeds to humiliate her and then make out with her. Throw a murder in the mix and it all gets out of hand.

To be a successful erotic thriller, a film has to do two things. The first is titillate. A thriller cannot be called erotic if it doesn’t cause a certain amount of tightness in the trouser-crotch area. The second is thrill. The plot needs to grab the audience by the balls and not let go. It needs to keep viewers entertained and keep them guessing. Sounds simple enough, right? So why is it that Brian De Palma’s film Passion fails to titillate and thrill? Well, for the titillation part, perhaps it’s because it is a German film and we all know nothing sexy ever came out of Germany.

lederhosenI rest my case

OK, that’s not true. Watching the German football team play in the World Cup has convinced me that the country is full of stud-muffins but that doesn’t change the fact that this film is not sexy. It recycles a lot of the traditional erotic thriller fair such as lesbianism and aggressive vadge-banging so good the couple clearly forgot to use protection. However, at no point did any of this get me hot under the collar. I am tempted to say that the film’s central problem in the boner-inducing department is that the eroticism feels forced: it’s De Palma telling you what should be sexy by relying on conventional and well-worn formulas. Passion takes no risks with eroticism. I think back to Drive and I remember that scene in the elevator when Gosling kisses that lucky bitch and then pummels the shit out of the guy. That was hot…probably because it shouldn’t be. Erotic thrillers are successful when they push boundaries. McAdams and Rapace making out in the back of a limo pushes no boundaries.

So, the film is not erotic. Is it thrilling? Well, not really. The film is basically about women being mean to one another at work. If I wanted to see that I would just show up to my regular job and spread some shade amongst my female colleagues e.g. “so-and-so called you a bitch,” “what’s-her-face slept with your boyfriend,” “that chick over there said you smell like bad-decisions and week-old happy meals.” I could go on. Point is, there’s nothing terribly exciting about people hating their colleagues. That’s just everyday life. By the time the murder actually happens in this movie you’ve stopped caring and you’re just shouting at Noomi Rapace to fucking quit her job. Seriously, why is she still there!?

That’s not to say that Passion is a complete waste of time. It does have hints of glory. For instance, the scene where Noomi Rapace has a panic attack in a lift was very good but then it gets a little OTT when she crashes her car. Also, the random scenes in German were very good and displayed a lot of the actors’ talents when playing roles in their native language. The best scene, however, is when the two main characters go to a private runway show and some model stacks it. If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there is nothing funnier than watching good-looking people hit the floor like a sack of shit.

Model falling downSee what I mean?


  • I seriously laughed for a good five minutes when the model fell over. It’s even funnier when you realise there is a camp German guys shouting abuse at her.
  • The film kind of makes you realise that your job isn’t so terrible.
  • Screaming at the screen: “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL IN THIS JOB!!??”


  • Eurotrash houses…makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
  • Idiotic characters. “Isobel, are you alright?” OF COURSE SHE’S NOT FUCKING ALRIGHT!!!! She’s popping prescription pills like they’re pez!
  • Rachel McAdams really can’t handle the scene where she describes her twin’s death. It’s so stale.


After a stint of watching erotic thrillers, I think it’s time to put a pin in it but it’s a shame I didn’t end my marathon on a high-note. I mean, was certainly high but that’s not the same thing. Passion is a very run-of-the-mill thriller that does not excite it audience. Instead of doing anything controversial or interesting, the film simply relies on the old “bisexuals are serial killers” theme. It’s bland and forgettable. I was hoping for more from De Palma.




Filed under Meh, Thriller

3 responses to “Passion (2012)

  1. Good review. It could be pretty steamy and sexy at times, but most of the time, it was just campy. And not the fun kind either.

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