Customer Reviews: Passion Play
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on October 5, 2011
I really liked this movie a lot. I watched it on cable one night with no expectations.
Mickey Rourke was fantastic as the burnt out trumpet soloist Nate and Megan Fox was quite good in a role
that allowed her to stretch her wings a bit (no pun intended lol).

I loved the whole David Lynch styled atmosphere of the film and couldnt find too many things to say about it
except I believe the critics were wrong. They are like vultures and will pick off a film if they feel the others
circling - sometimes I believe movies are dismissed because of what their peers think.

To go into the plot at all will spoil it for those who havent seen it, but this is definatley one
of Rourke's most interesting roles since Angel Heart and Bill Murray is sensational as the bad guy.

Dont listen to the critics - they got it wrong - Passion Play is a suprislingly excellent little film with touches
of Noir and is shot with an arthouse sensibility. And with the drivel that is being spewed out of the pens and
studios of Hollywood at the moment this is one of the more original films to come along in a long time.
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on June 7, 2011
Sometimes you wonder what known and respected actors do when they are not starring in popular movies or box-office successes. "Passion Play" partially answers the question. This is one original and touching project, which stars Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray - quite fascinating casting.

Mickey Rourke plays Nate, a famous, has-been trumpet player, who we meet at the beginning of the film. He just finished a gig, and just when he was getting ready to go home, somebody hits him on the head. Next thing, he is in the Mexican desert, ready to be executed by a hit man. Amazingly, some strangers save him, just about when he was ready to say goodbye for good. However, he is left alone, without transportation or means of communication, wandering in the desert. Eventually, he finds a traveling carnival in the middle of nowhere, where he meets Lily, an incredibly beautiful woman, who happens to have wings - a bird woman, she calls herself. He falls for her and tries to take her away. Unfortunately, he is discovered by Sam (Rhys Ifans), the owner of the carnival, who will not allow his main attraction to be taken away. Amazingly again, just when Nate is going to be whacked by Sam, he is saved at the last minute, this time by Lily herself. They run away, with Sam promising to get her back. Once in the city, Nate makes a deal with Happy Shannon (Bill Murray), a gangster, to spare his life and debt, and make some profit together, by using Lily in an attraction, namely a lucrative freak. Sadly for Nate, things don't go as planned, and he will soon realize his mistake.

"Passion Play" is different, and, as I said, original. It plays as a fantasy, and should be watched as such. It is a story about love and redemption, aided by stylish cinematography by Christopher Doyle. It is worth a look. (USA, 2010. color, 94 mins). Reviewed on June 6, 2011 exclusively by Eric Gonzalez for Image Entertainment.
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on June 8, 2015
I'm not usually a fan of the art house type of movies, but this one really pulled at my heartstrings. I think that part of it was the bittersweet story of love and redemption. Part was due to the gorgeous cinematography. I also enjoyed the great performances of Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray, and even Megan Fox did an admirable job in a low-key way. "Passion Play" was unusual and intriguing. I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like this movie and I loved it enough to buy it. I highly recommend this one.
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on June 21, 2015
The references others have made to David Lynch are correct, Sam Shepard or even Edgar Allan Poe might also be cited as spiritual fathers of this movie. Fans of 'mystical' noir such as [I]Wild at Heart, Fool for Love[/I] or [I]Wicker Park[/I] should like this.
The good: Megan Fox is super-gorgeous as always (so much so that she's almost painful to look at, but in a good way), and gives what may be her best acting performance, the sparse New Mexico desert locations are appropriately somber and otherworldly, and the story - while far from 'unpredictable, as the back cover claims - is certainly not your average American movie fare, this almost looks more like a European art film. No car chases, nothing explodes, no cops, no doctors, no lawyers. Not even Zombies. There are guns, however, which brings us firmly back stateside.
Always nice to see Bill Murray, and I'm sure he enjoyed this one, being so totally different from his usual roles.
The not-so-good: Can't recall a movie since some of the Marilyn Monroe ones from the 50's where a woman as young and beautiful as Megan was the object of desire of geezers as yucky as these two, which makes it a li'l hard to relate to the characters. The contrast is just too huge. Mickey Rourke used to be a heartthrob back in the 80's...holy crap, what happened?!? Drugs, booze, smokes & boxing...that it?
Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be a sort of 'parable', but still.......
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on January 2, 2015
Liked this better the second time I saw it, I do love the ending. However the contrast between the young beauty of Megan Fox and the two old guys was just too much to be believable, so from a girl's POV this started to enter strange waters. I also have a hard time picturing Mickey Rourke as anybody but Marv in "Sin City." The period, I'm guessing, is the early 60s (pre-Beatles) with the dial phones and beehive hairdos. I also wondered why Nate would pawn his trumpet rather than all the gold jewelry he was wearing.

The cinematography was lovely. It could have been more mystical (I loved the introduction of Megan's character--that was spooky) it could have been more gangster-like, it could have been a comment about the generation gap, it just didn't seem to have a particular story to tell other than exactly what the dialogue was on the surface. It could also have had better pretend-trumpet playing by Rourke. Not only did he have his back turned most of the time and his breathing was not in synch, but suddenly a piano came in on the soundtrack and you were like where is he hiding? But I think it was meant to represent Lilly's feeling of transport when he played just for her. After all, she was a fan.

I got the feeling Megan Fox kind of hung on to Rourke and Murray because she thinks she "can't fly" as an actor, but if anyone saw what a terrific effort she threw herself into in "Jennifer's Body" (writer: Diablo Cody), where she got to make fun of her looks and what people might think she is really like and be a monster and do stunts and really not deal with those issues at all about being "still" and "beautiful" they would know she can act. She doesn't really have a whole lot to do here till the end but that's how this character is meant to be--there's very little character development for anybody but Nate, and Lilly has to piggy-back those scenes.

Murray makes an amazing bad guy. It was weird for me to see Rourke in a sort of hero role though he is still a deadbeat in this; he didn't QUITE bring off the in-love part but he did seem protective. The blonde was Kelly Lynch, who is married to the director, Mitch Glazer and starred with Matt Dillon in "Drugstore Cowboy." Pros: acting and period detail. Cons: the tattoos at the end were rude and out of sync as were the earrings on the "dark angel".
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on March 23, 2015
I came across this playing on a channel when staying with a cousin in the US and found myself watching it right the way through. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of it before, given its three major stars-Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray.

 It’s an offbeat tale of Mickey Rourke’s character – a down on his luck musician - trying to save himself from a gangster (Bill Murray) who is pursuing him and how he falls in love on the way (Megan Fox). She is in captivity and on show because she happens to have wings. While he feels for her, he sees this as a chance –she can be a resource to offer Murray and ensure him his life and freedom, and perhaps he and Murray can profit together from her freakishness.

Murray the gangster turns out to want her for himself, and takes her off to a fine material life but more captivity, while the down on his luck musician is out of the picture and only alive because Lily(Megan Fox) makes it a condition of her involvement with Murray. The rest you must watch for yourself to see how it works out....

I like the way the power shifts between the three of them in unexpected ways, and also the finer emotional touches to the three characters. Could take or leave –preferably leave - the gangster stuff and fights, but they don’t take over the film. Some brilliant US music and musicians spinning around and funky effects-like the white robed Native Americans who silently and suddenly rescue Rourke at the start of the film. In a funny way it’s also peaceful to watch in spite of the subject. The characters are all marked with their experiences and unsure here and there, which makes them more real. Yes an interesting film and i’d watch it again –feel there would be a whole lot more to notice the next time.
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on October 1, 2014
The tale is irresistible. There is an angel (or "bird woman") and it it passes as a representational story without any fancy. The CGI is hit and miss on the wings, unfortunately, but the general concept is pulled off and makes quite a fascinating story... and with Murray as a gangser, blending his serious and
comic sides in one role.
An angel - Megan Fox uner the power of a relentless gangser - Bill Murray, is saved by a trumpet player
(- Mickey Rourke) down on his luck.
This movie, both directed and written by Mitch Glazer (Scrooged), has a lot going for it.
And of course, apparently, the incredible cast. Murray never fails, Rourke is powerful, and oddly enough
Megan Fox puts on the best performance of her career in this movie. If you think of her as just a beautiful face, this film might demonstrate you wrong.
Having an angel as a character calls to mind some religious thoughts, and infact they play on the concept of things being "divine" and with "retrieval". There is a kind angel and a vicious angel, too.
I query Glazer if the religious symbolism runs deeper, and he affirm me it doesn't. But even on this superficial level, the story works - a man can return to his depths or rise to new heights.
The movie falls a bit brief, and I can't even determine why. I just felt like there was a next step that should be taken that never was... this could be explored in a continuation, I suppose, but this isn't the type of film you make a sequel to. Is love more forceful than death, as the tagline prompts? Maybe, nut the film never really refers why.
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on March 4, 2014
Rourke has once again,has given his character that unique touch.Bill Murray a heavy hitter with a relentless nature. This movie,is full of characters,it has it's believable fantasy.It will keep your attention and the ending will catch you by surprise.
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on July 19, 2014
Unlike the Sixth Sense and a few others, if you don't catch on to what is happening in the first 15 minutes of this film, you weren't really paying much attention.

Murray was pretty much a walk-on, no stretch for him in this film. Nice to see him though.

The bird-gal is beautiful and hurt and kinda innocent and makes her wings look real. When she has to fly with Rourke, she should get an award for best supporting actor....literally.

Rourke, like the others, is a commendable actor. But in this film he looks like Shemp from The Three Stooges.

I watched it to the end to see if my guess about the film was correct. It was.

This seems to be one of those films made (with other peoples' money) to be a boutique item. I found it muddled and unmoving with little character development. For example there is this woman who keeps get Rourke's character out of jams.. Why?
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If nothing else, Mitch Glazer's "Passion Play" scores points for being different. Part existential drama, part swoony romance, part gangster epic, and part fantasy parable--this offbeat tale actually works better than you might anticipate. Expecting relatively little, I bought into this adult fairytale and its eccentricities. For its first hour, it spins a rather sweet fable with deceptively hard edges. It is in this juxtaposition of moods and themes that the movie really sets itself apart. But after establishing an effective premise and winning me over--the film suddenly loses a bit of momentum, takes a complete tonal shift, and ends on a rather unsubtle note meant to be uplifting and fraught with meaning. It's like there was an intriguing idea for a story, but the movie doesn't know how to get to its end in a dramatically cohesive way. Still, I liked the film--but I definitely felt a division between its parts. The first hour rated about 4 stars, but the final thirty minutes kind of felt hollow for me.

When a hapless jazz musician (Mickey Rourke) raises the ire of a local gangster (Bill Murray), he soon finds himself looking down the barrel of a gun. Narrowing avoiding execution, he stumbles upon a traveling carnival and becomes enchanted with Megan Fox who performs as a sideshow attraction. I'm sure plenty of reviews and descriptions of the movie will give you more information--but I think the film works best if you let a few surprises occur naturally. Soon Fox and Rourke hit the road but their blossoming romance is threatened by Rourke's need to square himself with Murray. Fox's allure may be just the ticket to saving his life. Through no fault of the actors, it is when Fox and Murray meet that the film starts to lose a bit of its life force. Who, if anyone, will end up with whom? Or are there greater powers at work on this trio of damaged souls?

Rourke is an interesting presence here--understated and believable. Fox displays credible vulnerability and acquits herself well. However, the grand success of the movie depends on them having an impassioned bond. And although both are good independently, I never felt the real heat of connection and chemistry. The illusion of their romance is not able to withstand their separation--and the longing looks and teary wistfulness were never entirely convincing for me. Murray, for his part, also restrains himself with a sly menace that serves the piece well. And while I'm sure some will be won over by the ending, it just seemed to be trying a bit too hard--especially lacking a tangible love bond. Still, it's worth a look--especially if you enjoy the actors. About 3 1/2 stars overall--I admired what the film tried to accomplish even if I felt it wasn't wholly successful. KGHarris, 5/11.
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