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Brian de Palma

Passion * Brian de Palma (2012)

I had higher expectations of Brian de Palma. (He, that is almost exactly how I opened my review of the previous De Palma film that I reviews.) “Passion” is a fairly weak film with only a few interesting elements.

Isabelle (Noomi Rapace, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’) works at a publicity agency. Her boss, Christine (Rachel McAdams, too girly for her role) is extremely manipulative. At first Christine seems to not only want to be Isabelle’s boss, but also her friend. Soon it becomes clear that Christine’s reasons are selfish.
Then Isabelle comes up with a commercial that makes her star rise faster than Christine’s, so the latter brings up the worst in herself to make life miserable for Isabelle.

This all comes with a fairly standard story and poor acting. Halfway De Palma has an interesting experimental scene with picture-in-picture, but after that the acting gets even worse and the language goes to German. Of course everything is explained in one scene towards the end and then De Palma goes into ‘Lynch mode’ for the closing scene, which is funny, but does not really seem to add much.

Actually all of the above can be summerised with one word: “poor”.

Mission To Mars * Brian de Palma (2000)

I had expected more of a director of the calibre of Brian de Palma. Much more! “Mission To Mars” is really a weak film. The 5,5 on IMDb is completely just in my opinion.

We start with a party of astronauts some of whom are going on a mission to Mars the next day. The trip is half a year flying, a year on Mars and half a year back. Something goes wrong on the first mission and another crew is sent to rescue the first and finish the job.

Apparently De Palma wanted a relaxed atmosphere to his film, but it turned out completely emotionless. The drama is not dramatic, tension not tense. The acting is very stiff. Even a death that is minutes in the making is just another passing event. There are shots in space that look corny. Did De Palma perhaps try to make a 1970’ies like scifi? In works neither way. The film does not have a classic feel, but as a modern film is looks outdated.
The only thing that is somewhat interesting to “Mission To Mars” is the enigma that the crew runs into on the red planet. This is not worked out too well, but at least something happens.

I sure am nog allergic to slow films with little content, but this approach simply does not work in “Mission To Mars”.

The Black Dahlia * Brian de Palma * 2006

The Black DahliaHere we have a nice film that plays in the 1950’ies and has a nice 50’ies atmosphere. Two policemen and friends and the girlfriend of one of them, have a strange relationship and also a strange history. The policemen investigate two cases which seem to have some link with the past. The story is not really surprising, but in all the film is very nice. Towards the end it becomes a bit too Hollywood though.