Passion (Blu-ray Review)

PassionBrian De Palma returns to the sleek, sly, seductive territory of Dressed To Kill with an erotic thriller fueled by sex, ambition and the murderous side of Passion. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace star as two female executives whose fierce competition to rise up the ranks is about to turn literally cut-throat. Bonus Features: Interviews with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace



Passion is the story of two female advertising executives who are on the brink of sealing the deal on a very lucrative campaign. Christine (Rachel McAdams) is Isabelle’s boss Noomi Rapace) but you would never know it, because the two women are very close. Close enough that they have meetings fueled by alcohol in order to drive the creativity through in order to seal the deal that they’re both seeking to close. Along for the ride is Christine’s boy friend, Dirk, which makes Isabelle a tad uncomfortable being that she’s there for work and not to watch him make out with her boss. It’s a tad awkward for Isabelle to say the least.

As the two ladies get closer and closer to landing the deal they both go from being close friends and become bitter rivals. Betrayal and compliance seem to walk hand in hand at this advertising firm, which is weird, because even though Isabelle is an executive and Christine is her boss, you never really get that impression, because when Christine goes off the deep end and starts treating Isabelle like crap you would think that she’s talking to an intern or someone of no status within that company.

Christine has this very cold, shallow, and vapid quality to her character especially when she’s being Queen Bitch and just spews venom at Isabelle. It’s as if Christine is marking her territory whenever she knocks Isabelle down a few notches. By that same token Christine can also turn off the bitch-factor and be the nicest person ever and welcome Isabelle back into the fold. It’s a really strange bi-polar dynamic these two ladies have going on.

Brian De Palma is back to his voyeuristic roots and in Passion he combines long crane shots, still shots, and various split screen techniques reminiscent of his past features. It’s very trademark De Palma. I should also point out that Passion is a remake of the 2010 film Crime d’amour that starred Kristin Scott-Thomas and was directed by Alain Corneau. De Palma must have seen something in that film that he wanted to twist around in his version. In fact, I have the film aka Love Crime that I checked out from the library and am eager to see how the original differs from the original. I’ll go with it differing a lot!

Underneath it all, Passion is style over substance, and you will most likely have questions at the end of the film but if you dig in on IMDB and other sites, you will be able to read some pretty far out theories on what it is that you just saw. If you’re a Brian De Palma fan like me then you will enjoy Passion with a vengeance.




Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: Passion has a lovely layer of grain spread throughout the film- in fact; it’s the first thing I noticed. I’m not sure if Brian De Palma ever made the transition to digital or not but the way Passion is lensed, you would think it was shot on 35 mm film. Contrast and sharpness levels are also pretty spot- on, with just a bit of softness thrown into the mix.

Depth: Sleekness is definitely the name of the game and this transfer enhances some of the more creative perspective shots. You can lose yourself in some of the compositions presented.

Black Levels: Passion has a few scenes that take place at night in addition to some dark interior shots – crush and compression artifacts were never a problem during any of those scenes.

Color Reproduction: Color is definitely used sparingly to contrast the cold and sleek vibe Passion has going. From McAdams’ golden hair to her and Rapace’s red lipstick – red is seems to be the grand equalizer.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are normal except when drugs are introduced. Once the drugs have been taken those that took them end up looking sick and pasty. It’s not a good look.

Noise/Artifacts: I only noticed a few instances that had a bit of noise and whatnot – nothing too severe.



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Passion isn’t an action film but does create this sleek world of cutthroat executives that lends itself to the Blu-ray format. We get perfect stillness one moment, before a hearty musical beat startles us into submission. Works for me.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is given little to do here and is only utilized during the scenes of brutal violence to give the proceedings an extra push.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience and music envelope the viewer since Passion does not have any action beats per se.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Passion is a dialogue driven film and the center channel – front stage sound design did its job like it was supposed to.



Passion on Blu-ray has no worthy extras to speak and that’s a bit of a bummer. I would have loved an audio commentary by Brian De Palma, with the cast, deleted scenes, and all of those supplemental special features that we’re accustomed to but the Blu-ray Gods have denied us.

  • Interviews with Brian De Palma, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace (HD, 7:04) – Brian De Palma sounds a bit cranky in these interview featurettes, so I don’t know what that’s all about. Noomi and Rachel explain their roles and motivations, etc. Yes, this is basically the usual talking head stuff. All filler, no killer.
  • Trailer (HD) – The theatrical trailer for Passion is presented in high definition.




Passion isn’t Brian De Palma’s best film by a long shot and it doesn’t try to be more than it is. A very attractive cast and assured direction make Passion a lovely romp that film-noir and neo-noir fans should take. The Blu-ray has above average video and audio specs but is severely hampered by the lack of extras. Pour yourself a glass of red wine, sit back, fire up the home theater, and enjoy this film with a ‘Passion.” 

Order Passion on Blu-ray!



Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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