Remember the old days, when director Brian De Palma acted as if he cared while he ripped off Hitchcock? In the thriller "Passion," it feels as if he's just going through the motions.
In this remake of Alain Corneau's 2010 film "Love Crime," there's intrigue afoot at the Berlin office of an international ad agency. Cutthroat boss Christine (Rachel McAdams) steals ideas from her loyal assistant, Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), to further her own promotion. But when Christine's boyfriend, Dirk (Paul Anderson), gets caught embezzling from the company, Isabelle finds a way to turn the tables.
Along the way, there are lesbian make-out scenes, mind games and eventually a murder. All of this should be right in De Palma's wheelhouse, but there's a sterile, rote quality to his script. Meanwhile, there are jarring tonal shifts that suggest he couldn't decide whether to pay homage to his past glories or parody them.
McAdams and Rapace seem to enjoy playing against type, with McAdams ("Morning Glory") deliciously tearing into her bitch-on-heels role and Rapace (the original Lisbeth Salander) going over-the-top as the doomed innocent, but they're doing so in a lost cause of a movie.
Opens Friday, Aug. 30, at Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content, language and some violence; 102 minutes.