Wonder Reviews
Femme Fatale ***
Early Oscar Wish List 2003
Movie Quotes You Forgot Were Awesome
2002 Top Ten
2002 Oscar Wish List
2003 Oscar WIsh List
Movies That Suck
All Time Favorite Movies
Favorite Links
Contact Me
Current Reviews
Critic Mumbo Jumbo
People you Should Know
Cool List

Laure Ash/Lily:  Rebecca Romijn
Nicolas Bardo:  Antonio Bandera
Bruce Watts:  Peter Coyote
Written and directed by Brian De Palma 

I bet her toes are wrinkly.

Femme Fatale is a twisty, slow, atmospheric thriller in the same vein as Hitchcocks best, only this time there is oodles of sex.  Writer/director Brian De Palma lays out his influence early in the film as Laure (Rebecca Romijn), a naked, gorgeous blonde is seen as a reflection in a TV screen showing Double Indemnity.  De Palma wants to create a woman as dangerous as she is beautiful.  He almost succeeds.

The movie opens with an elaborate three-man heist at the Cannes Film Festival, the ultimate goal of which is to walk away with a brassiere laced with around 12 million dollars worth of diamonds.  After the movie hall goes completely dark and Laure leaves carrying the diamonds, the real action begins.

Its also the point at which the time sequence becomes almost terribly confusing.  Basically, Laure becomes confused with a woman that looks exactly like her and takes her identity all the way to America.

At that point, Nicolas (Antonio Banderas) is brought into the forefront as a photographer playing paparazzi to pay the bills and eat before getting back to finishing an elaborate city streets collage that takes up an entire wall in his apartment.  His assignment for the big bucks: take a picture of the American Ambassador to Frances photo-shy new wife (all this takes place in France).  The kicker, not-surprisingly, is that Laure under her new identity has come into the position.

What follows is a tangled web of mind games, double crosses, plot-bending twists, and intimidating cinematography.  If at the end, you can untangle all of the strings and understand, you win the prize of watching an old-fashioned thriller.

While the framework is good, there are glaring faults that I must shed light on.  Banderas is a capable actor, but he slips into the role of a cartoony fool with some of his ill-advised deliveries of lines.  Its a tough role to master, but Banderas doesnt do it any favors. 

Rebecca Romijn (formally with a hyphen and Stamos) oozes the sexuality that the role calls for, but shes not dangerous at all.  The part gets mean, but she never actually bends with it, selling the audience on her audacity.  Id wager thats because she doesnt have any. 

Shes also forced to be part of weak interludes trying to show Laures cunning and drive, but which only end up showing her backside.  Maybe the failings of these scenes lie with Banderas and his awful reactions to all the action.

Above all, the film is stylish.  It runs on its own engine, or more accurately on the engine director De Palma has turned on before.  I must admit, I have only seen his Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes,  and The Untouchables, but I think any movie fan has heard the hub-bub surrounding his tricks of the trade: unique slow motion, split screen, and shots that go on for twenty minutes or so.  He employs all of them in Femme Fatale and accomplishes the atmosphere he sets out to create, but loses some credibility along the way.  His strengths lie as a director, not as a writer.



grammatical errors due to site builder limitations