Noomi Rapace

‘The Drop’: A Fitting Conclusion to James Gandolfini’s Character Actor Legacy

By

The Drop arrives in theaters with an unintended poignancy and finality, for it is the last film appearance by the late, great James Gandolfini. The distinction between it and last year’s Enough Said feels like a matter of semantics — that was his final leading role, whereas this is a decidedly supporting one. He is third billed, behind Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, and that’s accurate; this is Tom Hardy’s movie, and (to a lesser degree) Rapace’s. If Enough Said hinted, tantalizingly, at the kind of unconventional leading-man turns we might have seen more of, The Drop reminds us of what Gandolfini always did well: providing support, heft, and color, in the tradition of our finest character actors.
…Read More

De Palma’s ‘Passion,’ Schrader’s ‘Canyons,’ and the Inertia of Cinematic Idolatry

By

You’ve got to give it to Brian De Palma: he knows what his audiences expect. His new film Passion (out today in theaters; previously available on demand) features all of the director’s greatest hits: a twisty plot heavy on identity play, a narrative that mostly serves at the pleasure of his baroque set pieces, an obsession with voyeurism (digital, these days), and a boundless appreciation for the pleasures of Sapphic teasing. It’s a De Palma movie through and through; by the time he trots out the split-screen, he’s like Skynyrd finally playing “Freebird” for a crowd that’s been waiting all night for it. It hits all of the beats we expect and will undoubtedly please those who’ve followed his work since the 1970s. But Passion is, outside of those cinephile-pleasing gestures, a pretty bad movie. If it bore any other filmmaker’s name, would we cut it the same slack? It’s a question worth asking — particularly in the shadow of The Canyons, in which De Palma’s contemporary (and onetime collaborator) Paul Schrader finds himself similarly scrounging to recapture his past magic.
…Read More