When a member of the press told Mickey Rourke, the star of Passion Play, that his latest movie was getting a limited release, Rourke’s response was “That’s because it’s not very good” , which is a pretty accurate description. It’s vague, it’s silly, and it’s really not very good at all.
Nate Poole (Mickey Rourke) is a once-famous trumpet player who now only gets gigs playing at sleazy strip joints. Happy Shannon (Bill Murray), the local mob boss, finds out Nate has slept with his wife and orders a hit on the musician but Nate dodges the bullet and escapes into the Mexican desert. He comes across a travelling carnival where he meets the winged star attraction, Lily (Meghan Fox). The two loners connect and head back to Nate’s home town with the owner of the carnival in pursuit.
This film is littered with gaping plot holes at every turn, one of which is when Nate gets into a relationship with Lily but doesn’t ask how come she’s got a pair of angel wings growing out of her back. There’s also a bizarre scene when Lily arranges to have her wings surgically removed, but if she knew this was possible, why didn’t she have it done years before so she didn’t end up as the freak show at a run-down carnival? These realms of ridiculousness hit the stratosphere when Nate, unarmed, walks into Shannon’s living room to rescue Lily, knowing Shannon and his mobsters are already there and that they still want to kill him.
Getting the big things wrong is one thing, failing on the small stuff is plain amateurish. Nate, our hero, travels around a lot and, despite not owning so much as a valise, has a different color three piece suit on every day. Didn’t anyone in production or wardrobe notice something was a little amiss here? There’s an attempt made at the end of the film to justify all the incongruities but this simply feels like an excuse for making the audience sit through something that makes no sense.
When a film misses every trick, it’s interesting to know what the people who made it have to say for themselves. Apparently, they believe that Bill Murray’s black glasses “help define his sinister aspects”. Actually, no, they don’t; they just stop him looking like Bill Murray. The filmmakers also claim that “at its heart, this story is about redemption”. Actually, the only person who gets redeemed is Mickey Rourke when he makes his statement to the press and which is honest enough to make him a contender for a pair of wings of his very own. Who’d have thought?
US – 6TH May (limited)
DVD and Blu-ray – 31st May