The Dissolve

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Of PASSION and other posters unworthy of Brian De Palma

The theatrical poster for Brian De Palma’s new movie Passion (due on VOD via Magnolia on August 1, in theaters August 30) has been released [h/t to Film.com], and it’s as deflating as the middling reception the film received when it premièred in Venice and Toronto last year. As with many De Palma movies, particularly of recent vintage, Passion is a for-fans-only proposition, but it deserves better than a desultory Photoshopping of its two stars, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, with McAdams giving Rapace a sharp glance and Rapace staring dead-eyed into the middle distance. Here’s the offending image: 

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Throughout his career, De Palma has explored duality with much the same vigor as Alfred Hitchcock, his chief inspiration, did in classics like Psycho and Vertigo, but the official posters have often struggled to express this graphically. Raising Cain made a noble attempt to suggest John Lithgow’s split personality by fusing a positive and negative image of his face cut down the middle, but the effect is too literal and unpleasant. (Great header, though.) 

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The Criterion cover of his great 1973 horror-thriller Sisters, about conjoined twins of varied temperaments, does a much better job of keeping Margot Kidder’s fractured visage off-center, but the blood spatters in the right frame muck up its simplicity and make it seem too busy. 

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And then there’s the pitiful release poster for Femme Fatale, which disregards the doubles in that film for a Photoshop of Antonio Banderas staring in the background, with a shot of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos’ barroom striptease pasted in the fore. 

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For De Palma fans/apologists like myself, the persistent failure of movie posters to live up to his movies can get depressing. All we can do is take solace in Eric Skillman’s magnificent cover for the Criterion edition of Blow Out and hope they all get the same inspired treatment some day.  —Scott Tobias

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Filed under film brian de palma movie poster design

  1. motionpicturesatarevolution reblogged this from thedissolve
  2. abigailgarnett reblogged this from thedissolve and added:
    God this is so true, although I like the Criterion cover for Sisters.
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