x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Passion Play

Despite a cult-worthy cast, this fantasy adventure is exhaustingly bad.

Director: Mitch Glazer
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray
*

This is a grand folly that really has to be seen to be believed. Not even a stellar cast can save Glazer's turgid male fantasy about the ageing jazz trumpeter Nate Poole (Rourke), who meets Lily the Bird Girl (Fox) at a circus and believes that she can lead him to redemption.

Nate owes money to the gangster Happy Shannon (Murray), Lily the Bird Girl needs to escape from her life in the Mexican circus and its crazy owner Sam (Rhys Ifans). Glazer made his name as a writer and producer, and his directorial debut proves why he should stick to what he knows best.

Glazer doesn't rein in his actors, and the cinematography from Christopher Doyle looks pretty, but like the rest of the movie, is style over substance. Not that there is much in the way of plot: most of the narrative is taken up with Rourke postulating to the angelic Lily about the woes of his life, trying to sound erudite, but boy is he boring.

It says everything that the Transformers star Fox is the best actor on display, while Rourke is fast proving that his TheWrestler performance was a one-off return to form. Striving desperately to achieve the ethereal quality of David Lynch, this fantasy adventure is instead more like a nightmare.