Passion Play (R)

Drama 91 May 6th, 2011
By Nick Schager
Mickey Rourke recently made headlines for dubbing Passion Play "a terrible movie," a proclamation that's ultimately most notable for its understatement. Teeming with second-rate neo-noirisms, Mitch Glazer's film follows once-famous jazz trumpeter Nate (Rourke), who after mysteriously avoiding execution for screwing the wife of gangster Happy (Bill Murray), stumbles upon a remote desert carnival. There, he falls in love with melancholy winged angel Lily (Megan Fox), whom the devilish Happy soon also covets, and who just can't avoid being displayed in a glass booth for leering paying customers. Glazer paces his dreamlike material with a slow-motion-addled torpor that's aggravated by his apparent desire to exhaust the world's supply of downbeat piano music. Rourke and Murray gamely, if futilely, strive for archetypal cool, while a pouty Fox is as unconvincing as the special effects for her angelic appendages. The writer/director seems to think he's remaking Point Blank as a sensual ode to divine love, but narrative inertia and unintentional comedy — like Nate seducing a woman with a goofy lemon-under-a-napkin trick, only to discover that she's a dope-pushing demon with Christ and the Virgin Mary tattooed on her respective ass cheeks — condemn his saga to the realm of hellishly pretentious misfire.
Mitch Glazer Megan Fox, Bill Murray, Mickey Rourke, Rhys Ifans, Kelly Lynch, Rory Cochrane, Bud Cort, Chris Browning, Liezl Carstens, Lora Martinez-Cunningham Mitch Glazer Image Entertainment

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