Something inside of me was stirred when I happened to catch a lost movie of Megan Fox’s. Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray are also in it so I’m not sure how I missed it back in 2010 when Passion Play first came out. But it’s a great movie that deserves another look.
It grossed $3,669 even though it was made with a budget of $8 million. No. That is not a typo. I thought the same thing. That’s so bizarre that these A-List talents are in this wonderful movie and it didn’t earn any more than that. If someone can tell me how that happened, I’m all ears.
If you can suspend your expectations of the greatest graphics like you would find in productions by Marvel Studios and just let the acting tell the story, you just might like the movie as I did. It has an old-school storytelling feel to it set in a contemporary world where there are strippers and prostitutes along with hard drugs and criminal mayhem. That’s why the innocence is so easy to see.
Mickey Rourke plays a down on his luck trumpet player who used to be famous but he’s fallen from his pedestal. He likes to drink and do his drugs but he struggles to keep himself clean. The thing is that when a person tries to clean themselves up, that always seems to be the time the past comes back to haunt them. Chuck Liddell plays a thug who comes one day to take from Mickey what he owes.
He drives him out to a desert to shoot him in the back of the head. But Chuck ends up eating it to Mickey’s surprise and his hero keeps going as if nothing happened. In this scene, you see a sense of innocence in Mickey’s eyes even though you know he’s done some dirt throughout his life. That doesn’t make him all bad.
There in the desert, Mickey wanders around until he finds a carnival where he might be able to find a way out of his current situation. That’s exactly what he finds. In the form of a freakshow exhibit, he finds Megan Fox in a glass cage. When she stands up, she shows her wings and a silent exchange between them unfolds.
In an unlikely twist, a bond forms between them when he takes her away from the carnival life and tries to show her the world. A world she has never seen because her whole life has been the carnival. This is where her innocence is clearly seen. She has no idea what the real world is about and it’s exciting but a little frightening to her because the thing is that her wings are very real. They are not a prop. They are as attached to her as her arms and legs and she’s actually self-conscious about them even though Mickey finds them absolutely beautiful.
Do not read beyond this if you plan on watching the movie and you don’t want it ruined for you. By the way, you can watch it for free on Tubi TV. And now, back to the article now that I have sufficiently warned you that I’m giving it way.
Just as Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke as Lily and Nate are getting to really know each other, Nate’s blast from the past comes back to haunt him again. Bill Murray plays the role of a gangster named Happy who isn’t so happy, especially not with Nate. And it’s at this part in the movie where my heart starts to break.
First Happy takes Lily away from Nate. But Nate goes after her. He knows where to find her. It’s not that hard. He knows Happy and he knows where he lives because he had an affair with his wife. That’s another reason Happy isn’t so happy with the man. That also might explain why Happy wants to take Lily away.
There in a viewing room watching an old classic movie from a projector, Nate finds Lily and Happy getting as comfortable as the situation calls for it. Let’s suspend for a moment how Nate got through the security team Happy has around him at all times and just concentrate on the fact that he walks in the room and tells Lily to grab her stuff.
She looks him straight in the eye and you can tell she doesn’t feel it when she says to him that she doesn’t want to leave and she doesn’t want anything more to do with Nate. He has to come to terms with that and heartbroken, he leaves. That’s when she makes it known to Happy that as long as she is with him, Nate is supposed to stay safe. Happy agrees.
While I watched that scene, I felt my own heart break. I’ve been in that situation. Not that exact one. But the situation in which the person I thought I had something special with chose to stay with someone else. I felt that pain. The words from my heart uttered as if I was in the scene, “My life begins and ends with you.”
I sincerely expected Nate to have a game plan. There is no way he just walked up in some gangster’s house with his hands empty, making all sorts of demands, and not have a game plan! My mind imagined a fight, an escape. But I didn’t get one.
Happy keeps his prize all to himself. He has no intentions of sharing her with anyone. That is until he throws a huge charity event with her as inspiration. It just so happens that Nate is hired to play trumpet with the band and Happy parades Lily right in front of him.
Happy’s theme of the night is angels but it doesn’t seem to please Lily all that much. When she turns around to see Nate, those feelings are still there. Once again, she has to ignore her feelings and it means walking away from Nate. Somewhere, deep down inside Happy is getting some kind of sick enjoyment out of it, the pain he is putting them both through.
And it’s about to get worse. When Lily’s past comes back to haunt her, it comes in the form of her old boss at the carnival. A man who raised her and acted like her father but was only using her for the money he could get out of his little freakshow. When he comes back to claim his prize, Happy takes care of him in quick fashion. But that’s the end of Lily’s life with Happy as she knew it.
Adding another layer of heartbreaking misery to this story, he locks her in a glass cage again. Only this time, she’s naked and on display for anyone who wants to sit in the audience and gaze upon her. When Nate hears about this, he rushes over to see for himself.
This is when we finally get our great escape. We get to clap for a moment as he slugs Happy right across the face. He breaks the glass and grabs her hand. She comes with him this time and they run through the halls and up steps where they find a ladder to the roof. They find themselves on the roof and the only way down is for her to learn how to fly. No lessons. No prior experience. Just reach deep Lily and learn how to fly.
In order to force her to learn, Nate jumps off the building. She has no choice. She dives off and catches him. As they fly by people and head out toward the desert, Happy watches from the top of the building finally realizing what absolutely special prize he just lost.
Off they go, enjoying their flight. Finally together after all. But that moment doesn’t last long when Lily flies Nate over the place in the desert where he was taken a long time ago. It appears his body’s still there, not the thug’s. This has all been a dream, albeit a great one.
His last thoughts before leaving the earth were of him meeting a gorgeous angel, making love to her, falling in love with her, and being taken into heaven by her. It’s technically still heartbreaking when you think that his life’s now over just as he thought he got her back, the angel he once thought he lost. But actually, his life was over before all that and those were just thoughts to ease the pain as he slipped into his final sleep in the middle of the desert.