Passion Play - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Passion Play Reviews

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Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2011
You would think that a movie where a jazz musician (Mickey Rourke) gets in trouble with a mobster (played by Bill Murray!) and while on the lam he discovers a girl (Megan Fox) with angel wings working in a circus sideshow would be interesting. How could you go wrong with all those interesting elements? Mobsters, circus freaks, angels, Mickey Rourke! Well Passion Play found a way, a triumph of failure. This would-be parable just sleepwalks from scene to scene, rarely making much of its fantastical sci-fi elements. Fox swears she's no angel, just a girl born with bird wings, and people let this be a conversation ender. Rourke's character is a pathetic coward who nets little empathy. Not reverent or weird enough, Passion Play was the passion project of writer/director Mitch Glazer but the movie feels devoid of anything approaching passion. The actors seem bored, the romance between Fox and Rourke is a non-starter, and the lame ending borrows a page from An Occurrence at Owl Creek as a last-ditch attempt to interject some meaning into this unholy mess. The only reason I can foresee (sober) people watching this is for the mistaken belief that they might glance upon some heavenly nudity from Fox. Sorry boys, the gal keeps her purity. The entire production is just so wrong-headed and listless; I can't even work up a good dose of bile to proclaim its utter inanities. This is a terrible, silly, puzzling, dopey movie made even worse by its pseudo-intellectual twist ending.

Nate's Grade: D
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2011
Bill Murray playing the part of a ruthless gangster, someway I don't see that happening and it didn't in this movie. Mickey Rouke played excellent part but gets uglier as time goes on. Mickey Rourke plays a washed up trumpet player Nate, who upon the opening of the film is being taken to the desert to be killed, somehow the hit man is shot by a band of Indians. Nate stumbles upon a caravel as he wanders across the desert and discovers Lily a women with wings, is she an angle? Now the Carney people want to kill Nate, Happy Shannon wants to kill Nate so begins the story with twist and turns and is it real? I give it 3 1/2 stars
Super Reviewer
½ August 14, 2011
Nate: How long have you been an angel?

"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. 
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2011
A trumpet player discovers a woman with wings at a freak show while hiding out from a gangster who wants him dead. A potentially interesting premise wrecked by an awful script that begs us to care whether angelic Megan Fox will choose old, creepy, poor Mickey Rourke or old, creepy, rich Bill Murray.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch, Jerry Sawyers, Rhys Ifans, Bud Cort, Rory Cochrane, Chris Browning, Liezl Carstens

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."
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2011
Love Is Stronger Than Death

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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2011
"Love Is Stronger Than Death"

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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2011
"Last thing on earth you'll ever see. Wings."

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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2012
In "Passion Play," Nate(Mickey Rourke), a down and out trumpet player, would be dead if not for the intervention of a group of American Indian ninjas who are still rude enough not to give him a lift back into town. Hours later, he stumbles across a traveling sideshow. Only wanting to know where a telephone is from Sam(Rhys Ifans), the barker, he gets more than he could have ever bargained for in the person of Lily(Megan Fox), a winged wonder. Upon realizing that her wings are real, Nate also discovers Sam and several others behind him meaning to do him harm. Instead of it being ninjas this time, it is Lily who rides to the rescue in a pickup truck. In gratitude, Nate has Harriet(Kelly Lynch) set up a deal to further preserve his skin with Happy Shannon(Bill Murray).

"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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2012
Passion Play is a freakishly bizarre film. It's a fantasy tale that doesn't feel like fantasy; when a washed up musician falls in love with a carny that has angel wings, he attempts to free her from the hustlers and gangsters that are out to control her. The cast is impressive, Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, and Bill Murray, but Rourke doesn't have a feel for the material and Murray is underused. Rourke and Fox have no chemistry, and the entire relationship seems forced. And that's really the problem with the entire film, nothing is in sync; the tone, the music, the acting, the settings, everything is off. Yet there's something strangely alluring about the bizarreness of Passion Play. Still, the film as a whole doesn't work.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2011
Although Megan Fox puts her best foot (or wing) forward and Bill Murray is brilliant, Passion Play is so puzzling that the end result is too abstract for anyone to connect with and the only thing that remotely makes sense about its theme of redemption is the fact that Glazer will need to ask for it after having directed this.
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2014
The film strikes out, big time. It feels like the director was trying to make a David Lynch or Terry Gilliam type of movie here. He even tries copying their styles and it doesn't work. In a weird way the film kind of reminded me of the movie, Indecent Proposal. The special effects weren't good here. The flying sequence and Megan Fox's wings looked too cheesy and fake.

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.
Angel G.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2011
Passion Play isn't horrible, but it isn't great either, at all. Rourke, Murray and Ifans are really wasted in this movie, but Rourke is really the one who is miscast here. I kept looking at the clock so this could wrap up, cause the film was boring at times. The script isn't good, the acting not horrible, but it didn't help anything, the story was poor and the score is what makes this movie boring, the only music I liked was the part when Mickey Rourke's character was playing the trumpet for Lily (Megan Fox). Megan Fox was surprisingly not the worst part of this movie, she didn't ruin this movie (at least she's improving), what was really off was the 0% and forced chemistry between Fox and Rourke. It really felt like it was forced, there was no connection, the really awkward and weird moment was the sex scene, really bad. I'll give the movie something: Bill Murray and Rhys Ifans are the best part of this movie, they at least give good performances, the message of someone being a "freak" and wanting to be normal, but whats beautiful is yourself, but I've seen better movies with that message (see "The Elephant Man" better), Megan Fox is improving her acting and the cinematography. But a bad script, a miscast male lead, a lackluster and forced chemistry from its leads, a boring score and an ending that leaves you ".....that..I'm not buying that" Passion Play leaves you thinking that this movie missed something, and what it missed was "passion"
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2011
Mickey Rourke in true bad ass form. Bill Murray as a pinstriped gangster. Megan Fox half-naked. Passion Play has all the key players and displays them in an artistic way, stylized to the gills and truly original. Though this film is getting poor reviews, the film succeeds in developing a rich love story all while the A-list cast pulls off separate meaning performances. There are several eye rolling moments, but overall, I enjoyed this film.
½ May 24, 2014
watching Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox make out made me want to burn my eyes out. the plot was stupid too
January 18, 2014
1/17/2014: A good cast, but a bad movie. Not enjoyable in any way. Down and out musician falls for young hottie with wings, but she gets taken by a mobster type. Interesting, but not put together well at all.
½ December 20, 2013
This film is strange, make no doubt about it, but it's not terrible. I enjoyed seeing Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray and Megan Fox was more competent than usual (maybe that's because she's playing a symbol rather than a character). There's some gorgeous cinematography and scoring and the premise is unusual enough to keep my interest.
August 4, 2013
If you gave me a movie with Megan Fox as Megan Fox with wings, Bill Murray as a gangster, and Mickey Rourke as a down-on-his-luck jazz musician, I'd normally charge into it grinning....which I did. Too bad the fact is a David Lynch directed adaptation of a Dashiell Hammet novel with none of the cool. The acting is generally good, especially by Bill Murray, but it's almost all nearly lost in the script and editing. The romance between Megan and Mickey alternates between sweet and weird, and while the angel thing could have been cool, the effects just make it dumb. Outside of Bill Murray, there's really nothing to recommend here so I'd say this is one film you can safely pass.
½ April 10, 2011
I know many people are saying critics and other movie goers are being so harsh toward this movie because of Megan Fox. Fox is not a good actress and no I'm not being prejudice because of her beauty. I'm fans of the late Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, and Zhang Ziyi who are very beautiful women with great talent for acting. I watched Johan Hex last night in utter disappointment with Fox's acting. How many movies will it take to prove she is in fact a good actress? A good actress should be versatile. Honestly, if she was given a dramatic role like Nina Swayers in Black Swan or any other truly dramatic performance I believe she will struggle. I'm not going to see this in theaters but I will watch it on DVD through Netflix. And yes I do believe her career is still afloat because she is beautiful. Hopefully she proved in this movie she's not only a pretty face.
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