Passion Play Reviews
Nate's Grade: D
"Love Is Stronger Than Death"
I don't really know what happened between the time I hit play and the moment the credits started to roll. I think I watched a movie, but I guess I'll never be entirely sure. As much as I like Bill Murray and respect Mickey Rourke; neither of them could save Passion Play from being a horrible movie. I'm not going to nitpick about Murray and Rourke's performance's because look at the material they were given to work with. We know that they are both quality actors. I am however going to ask why they would choose to be in this film. It makes no sense to me that actors of their quality would be involved in this.
The movie is horrible for a number of reasons. One of which would be the moronic story. What the hell was that? Obviously part fairy-tale and I guess part awkward, disgusting romance. I've seen others say that the sex scene was really bad and I don't think that does it justice. It's one of the weirdest things I've ever watched and it's done poorly. Another reason the movie is horrible is because of Megan Fox's sheer presence in the film. Yes, I find her attractive to some extent, but I don't think that gives her the right to a free pass. She is one of the most unbelievable and completely garbage actresses I've ever seen. One more reason I personally found disturbing, but not a cause for the movie being terrible was just the idea of it. Rourke's character getting involved with Fox's character. I'm not even talking about the age difference. I like to think that I'm not a shallow person, but when the bitch has wings; I think that's a good place to put a line in the sand.
I saw the ending of this film coming as soon as Murray's character gets involved and it still was mind-blowing that the writer-director would do it. It's completely idiotic. The fact that this movie was made just gives me a feeling of extreme nausea. Don't let Rourke or Murray pull you into this one. If you see a copy, destroy it.
Director: Mitch Glazer
Summary: Restrained by a ruthless gangster, gorgeous Lily, a circus freak whose incredible wings make her look like an angel, yearns for freedom. After crossing paths with the trapped beauty, down-on-his-luck musician Nate commits himself to rescuing her.
My Thoughts: "There is no getting around how completely awful this movie was. I really did try until the very end to make some sense out of what the hell these actors were thinking when they signed up for something so bad. The acting wasn't the worse part, it was the unbelievable story, not to mention the creepy romance between Rourke and Fox. Just felt so wrong and dirty and... ewe. Just completely wrong. There are very few moments in Fox's case where you feel her turmoil and sadness. I liked this part of her, and it felt absolutely real. Her acting in this was not awful and that gives me hope for when she actually picks a film that will do her justice. Mickey had his moments, but his acting was pretty bad in this. Maybe because he just seemed way too old for the part or he just didn't try cause he realized nothing could help this film. I tried to have an open mind about the movie, but in the end it was as bad as everyone was stating it was."
Not bad yet not great either. The movie's story never leads nowhere in particular even though it had a decent particular subject which what I thought was intriguing yet never developed at the end. Acting was so-so to non-existent. Watch it if you're a Rourke or Fox fan but don't come expecting a great movie.
'Passion Play' is an indie drama in which Mickey Rourke plays a down-on-his-heels trumpet player in 1950s Los Angeles who finds redemption in an angel (Megan Fox) after attempting to save her from a gangster.
An angel under the thumb of a ruthless gangster is saved by a trumpet player down on his luck.
In this truly odd-off-the-beaten-path combo of Twilight Zone meets Red Shoe Diaries neo-noir pastiche mash-up, Mickey Rourke stars as Nate, a downward spiraling jazz trumpeter who works in two-bit strip joints somewhere out in desert who finds himself earmarked for assassination by gangster Happy Shannon (Bill Murray, sporting Roy Orbison shades and his usual , low-key snark) - whose wife Nate unknowingly slept with. Surviving the attempt on his life (don't ask) he finds himself stumbling upon a traveling carnival where he meets Lily (Megan Fox stereotypically cast) a young woman featured on display behind glass ...for having vestigial angel wings (!) Here Nate falls in love with the 'freak' (for a lack of a better term) but sees redemption in perhaps wiping the slate with Happy by offering a business transaction to clear his name (i.e. 'selling' a share of Lily to the thug). What naturally follows is some mistaken emotions and an irate Rhys Ifans as Lily's 'owner' out for revenge.
While longtime scribe and Murray collaborator/friend Mitch Glazer makes an intriguing directorial debut (he co-wrote the Bill Christmas classic "Scrooged") - to say the least - the film sadly is a one-note oddity that doesn't know if it's supposed to be a metaphorically 'serious'noir (i.e. a gilded Lily may finally have freedom as well as Nate despite their trappings - literally a cage and a never-ending desert) or a black comedy (enter Murray who frankly I am biased and love the big lug but he wasn't intimidating as a criminal in Mad Dog and Glory). It's a fascinating mess overall and even Rourke's comeback kid can't save it nor can the always beguiling Fox.
What the heck was that? Rather, what was it even supposed to be? A love story? A fairy tale? I have no idea.
It doesn't matter if you're a die-hard Mickey Rourke fan from way back, a fanboy in total lust with Megan Fox, or if Bill Murray is your idol. There's just nothing here worth your time. Other than perhaps the most inexplicably hilarious, awkward, and unsexy love scene in ages.
The story is about a washed-up, formerly famous trumpet player who escapes from a hitman and finds a young woman with wings at a traveling circus. They leave her cruel caretaker together, and the musician hatches a plan to use the angelic young woman as barter to buy back his life from a gangster he crossed. Oh, and the girl is just a little too heavy to use her wings to do any more than float on a strong wind.
Now, try hard to imagine the most cliche and boring resolution to that scenario possible. Bingo, you are the winner! Your wonderful prize is never having to watch this!
There's nothing slightly romantic or interesting about Passion Play. No matter how many lone white feathers slowly drift past the screen, or how much slow piano music plays over lingering close-ups of faces, it's not poignant.
I guess some scenes are worth seeing because of the meteoric levels of WTF they feature. ESPECIALLY the laugh-out-loud ending, which was my personal incredulous highlight of the entire picture. Other than that, you get a lot of Megan Fox weeping and Mickey Rourke wearing clothes a classy hobo would be proud of.
By far the most interesting thing about Passion Play would be an explanation of why so many people thought it would be a good idea to make it. It's not the worst movie I've seen, but it's certainly one of the oddest.
"Passion Play" is an oddly beguiling throwback to the days of burlesque joints, traveling carnivals, vinyl and mobsters.(Is it any surprise that a key late scene is set in a museum?) Fitting in perfectly with that theme is Megan Fox with her classic good looks, possibly proving that she was born 60 to 70 years too late. In fact, despite the vast difference in their ages, Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox, both Hollywood outcasts, make a fine pair.
There is a lot of miscasting here. I think they casted Rourke cause of Angel Heart. He was better in that film than this one. He has no on screen chemistry with Fox. Megan tries to do the best that she can on screen. Rhys Ifans is way over the top in his role. Bill Murray happens to be the best one here. He makes the film, watchable. I like when he plays villain roles, like in Mad Dog and Glory and Kingpin.
If you see this movie, then watch it for Bill Murray's performance.