The Passion Within (2 stars)

The Passion Within

Period detail and good-looking actors in an unremarkable film

‘You f**k like a boy’, reads the message that an actress leaves smeared in red lipstick across the bedroom mirror of a famous bullfighter in this 1940s Spain-set biopic that focuses on the tempestuous romance between Lupe Sino (Penelope Cruz) and ‘Manolete’ Rodriguez Sanchez (Adrien Brody).

Unfolding in a series of flashbacks from the lovers’ last day, The Passion Within is a handsomely mounted affair boasting a pair of fine-looking actors and plenty of pretty period detail. But for a tragic tale of obsessive love, it’s a curiously bloodless film. Perhaps it’s a little over-composed by Dutch writer-director Menno Meyjes (writer of The Color Purple, director of Max). And perhaps that’s why this competent but unremarkable film went straight to DVD. No extras.