Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Passion vs. Jack and Diane, two movies about young, attractive, mind-game-playing lesbians—with secrets.
Premise Precious little is available in the way of information about Passion. The plot summaries on both its IMDb and Wikipedia pages consist of a single sentence: “A young businesswoman plots a murderous revenge after her boss and mentor steals her idea.” We’re guessing based on the trailer that Rapace is the young businesswoman, and McAdams is her boss and mentor—though McAdams is 33 and Rapace is 32, so we’re not sure exactly how much professional experience the former is supposed to have on the latter. Anyway, we learn that McAdams “likes to play games; she likes surprises,” and that Rapace might be sleeping with the same man as she is; we see McAdams in a mask, being pleasured by someone else (Rapace?) also in a mask; and at the end, Rapace coos, “Come here… come closer… now kiss me,” and McAdams whispers, “I love you.” So that’s that: no mention of idea-stealing, so we’ll have to take IMDb’s word for it. A crucial element of Jack and Diane‘s plot is left out of its trailer, too: while the spot makes clear that it’s a film about two young women in luuuurve, it fails to mention that at least one of them is, from what we understand, a werewolf. Rather, it focuses on the non-lupine aspects of their relationship: meeting, kissing, mixtape-sharing, pool cradling, mom-defying. But the random, close-up shots of—viscera, we think?—interspersed throughout the trailer hint at something a little more thrilling. Since both trailers are holding quite a bit back, it’s a toss-up. Advantage: Tie
The Lesbians Jack and Diane stars up-and-comers Riley Keough (The Runaways, Magic Mike, granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley) and Juno Temple (Killer Joe, Dirty Girl, The Dark Knight Rises), both of whom are 23 and both of whom will likely be all over alternative fashion magazines in a year or two. But Passion‘s leading ladies are stars already: Noomi Rapace has proven she can do the eerie thing with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies and that she can anchor a film with Prometheus, and we’re frankly thrilled to see peppy Rachel McAdams play against type in an erotic thriller. The stakes are higher with Passion (though, we’ll admit, we’re not one hundred percent sure they actually do lesbian stuff).
Their Secrets Again, this is based more on the film’s descriptions than their frustratingly opaque trailers, but it seems each film has a secret boiling just below the surface. In Passion, it’s Rapace’s character’s murderous plans regarding McAdams’ character; in Jack and Diane, it’s the “werewolf-like visions” Diane starts experiencing after she falls for Jack. We’re interested in the mentor-protégée Sapphic power dynamics in Passion, but we’ve seen that kind of thing before (well, hello, Chloe!), whereas we can confidently state we’ve never seen a film about a lady werewolf. Advantage: Jack and Diane
Director Jack and Diane was directed by Bradley Rust Gray, who’s previously directed Salt (an Icelandic drama not to be confused with the Angelina Jolie thriller) and The Exploding Girl, a film starring Zoe Kazan that in the interest of diplomacy we’ll simply say that we’ve… seen. Passion‘s Brian De Palma has been active for half a century, and his résumé—Carrie, Scarface, Mission: Impossible—speaks for itself. Advantage: Passion
Supporting Cast Sharing the screen in Jack and Diane are certifiable cool dudes Dane DeHaan (In Treatment, Lawless) and Leo Fitzpatrick (The Wire and, oh man, Kids), as well as the always reliable Cara Seymour (Adaptation., American Psycho, An Education) and, in a casting twist, Kylie Minogue, who sports wild, unkempt blonde hair to match Temple’s. Beyond Rapace and McAdams, Passion doesn’t include a single other actor we’ve heard of—sorry, Leila Rozario?—so Jack and Diane wins this one easily. Advantage: Jack and Diane
The Verdict So sue us: we can’t decide. Jack and Diane‘s lo-fi coming-of-age story interrupted by growly fits of werewolvery? Or Passion‘s campy interrogation of female power in the workplace? (We’ll admit we’re reading a lot into both.) Winner: Tie
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