This afternoon I saw Mitch Glazer's directorial debut Passion Play, and judging by the number of critics who walked out halfway through, I may be one of the few people who ever gets to claim I saw it in its entirety. The movie has gained some attention pre-festival for casting Megan Fox as Mickey Rourke's winged, mysterious love interest, but really, there's so much weird stuff going on here that the wings start feeling downright quotidian. But rather than reviewing it, how about I just offer the 15 most head-scratching moments and ideas in the film, from the very presence of Bill Murray to the fact that Megan Fox's character is supposed to be Mexican. Well, maybe. I wasn't really clear on that point, and to be honest, no one who made the film seemed to be either.
1. Mickey Rourke is a trumpet player, which we know because he fondles a trumpet mouthpiece like a pacifier.
2. Megan Fox is a winged woman, which we know because she has giant wings sprouting out of her back.
3. At the beginning of the film Rourke is rescued by a fleet of ninjas who shoot his attacker and then run away, never to be explained.
4. It starts as a Western-- man with no name enters a desert town, causes some trouble, etc. etc.-- before Mitch Glazer apparently runs out of Western references and starts making a romantic comedy instead.
5. This is a movie in which someone pours a glass of bourbon and proceeds to smash the glass with a bare hand-- twice.
6. This is a movie in which Megan Fox and Bill Murray don't just share a frame, but hold hands.
7. This is a movie in which Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke don't just share a frame and hold hands, but have fairly graphic sex.
8. This is the point in the movie where many, many critics in the press screening walked out.
9. Fox seems to think this is her bid at being a Real Actress, but she's been cast to basically play a naive, walking Barbie doll. For plot purposes you could replace her with a particularly expensive painting or some other inanimate object and not change the movie all that much.
10. Rourke seems to think he's bringing the same emotional heft to this that he did to The Wrestler, but he also seemed to think that about his long monologue in The Expendables.
11. There is absolutely no telling what Murray is thinking.
12. The film takes place partially in Mexico, but there is snow everywhere.
13. Fox's character supposedly learned English by watching old movies and has never been to America, but talks, well, exactly like Megan Fox.
14. I may have this wrong, but I think Glazer uses a track from Jon Brion's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind score in one particularly unimportant scene, to no real effect
15. As you can no doubt tell by now, Passion Play is not a good movie, but it's also so weird and committed to its weirdness that I don't feel right dismissing it. Good luck getting a chance to judge for yourself, though-- Passion Play is seeking distribution at Toronto, and I have a hard time imagining who's going to be bold and crazy enough to make that dream come true.
More Cinema Blend coverage from the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival right here.
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