It makes me sad that Brian De Palma films are not greeted as major events in the film world.
It shouldn’t really be a surprise. Even when he was at his career peak, De Palma has always been a polarizing figure, and respect for his work has never been a uniform thing. When I was young, each new De Palma film would be greeted by a huge debate about his talent and the source of much of his visual language, and the thing that people often tried to hang on him was that he was “just” a guy who borrowed from Hitchcock.
The truth is that De Palma was always one of the most visually accomplished guys of his generation, and he was no more a “thief” than Steven Spielberg, who learned just as much from Hitchcock as De Palma ever did. De Palma was a remix artist before anyone fully understood that term, and his movies have aged incredibly well. If you look at “Blow Out” or “Dressed To Kill” or “The Fury” these days, they look great, and there is such a great dark sense of humor underlining his work that I have to believe there is an element of prankery to everything he’s ever done.
Like many of the lions of the ’70s, De Palma has been sidelined for a while now, marginalized by an industry that is so desperate to get to the new that they frequently ignore established talent. I hate that our industry has frozen out guys like Joe Dante, John Carpenter, and, yes, Brian De Palma, all in favor of younger guys who happen to have flashy reel. When we complain about the landscape of modern studio movies, one of the things that gets overlooked often is that there are capable, stylish, proven filmmakers who aren’t able to get their work financed anymore within the system, simply because of their age.
I may not love all of De Palma’s latest work, but I recognize that the films he’s making these days are the films he can get made, not necessarily the things that are most important to him. His latest film, “Passion,” is getting ready to be released, and it’s a remake of “Love Crimes,” a French film from a few years ago. He’s got Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace co-starring, and we’ve got an exclusive clip from the film to share with you today. It’s a quick clip, but even here, you’ll see just how great his compositional eye remains, and it certainly looks like his fascination with the female form is getting full expression here once again.
I have yet to see the movie, but I look forward to it. No matter what, I want De Palma to keep working. I want to see him make things that matter to him, things that serve as a reminder of just how potent and wicked his voice can be. You’ll be able to see the film on VOD first, and on August 30, it’s also getting a theatrical release.