Femme Fatale (2002)
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Review Date: November 06, 2002
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Brian De Palma
Producers: Tarak Ben Ammar, Marina Gefter
Rebecca Romjin-Stamos
Antonio Banderas
Peter Coyote
A sexy thief who betrays her own team has to figure out a way to "disappear" as her deceived teammates rally to locate her (lovely) ass as well as the stash of diamonds that disappeared with her. Along the way, the hot chick meets up with a down-and-out paparazzi photographer with whom she develops a very odd relationship. Tits and tats ensue.
This is a tough movie for me to review. On the one hand, there were various elements in it which seemed to gel and work in the usual "entertaining" sense, but on the other hand, the film overplayed its visual card (there are sequences that go on for minutes on end without any dialogue and too many split-screens, etc...), got a little too "European" at times (making you wonder where it's all headed, no purpose?) and pushed the envelope of plausibility here and there. And to top all of that off, the movie has one of those endings that you will most certainly either HATE or LOVE. In my case, I quite enjoyed it and thought that it captured the film's essence effectively (although it was somewhat reminiscent of the underrated THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE). Having said that, I can see how others might want to get up and spit a loogie at the screen once the finale rolls around. The movie also spices things up with a lesbo scene (thanks!), Rebecca Romjin-Stamos looking hot as hell (although she barely flashes any tit...she does feature plenty of skin otherwise), Antonio Banderas playing a hilarious "gay guy" in one sequence and plenty of sexiness all around. I especially liked the scene in which Romjin-Stamos casually removed her dress in front of Banderas...nice! But before I actually "got into" the story, I was laughing up the over-the-top nature of the film's unusual opening. In fact, by the 20-minute mark, the film seemed to be headed toward my personal "worst of the year" list, but as soon as Banderas' character slipped into the proceedings, and DePalma decided to allow his characters to...well, speak, everything became all that much more appealing.

Style-wise, DePalma obviously dedicated his film to visuals with plenty of coolness in terms of the camera, with one particular brilliant sequence standing out in my eyes, which combined the slow-motion running of a chick with awesome legs, and the tappedy-tap of her heels against the ground. A very cool sequence! I also really liked both of the leads in the film. Yeah, they're not exactly the DeNiros and Streeps of their generation, but Romjin-Stamos impressed as the no-bullshit "femme" with the nasty attitude, and Banderas was just fun to watch. The dialogue didn't exactly help their respective causes either, but like I said earlier, DePalma seemed to be accentuating the story more through his visual style than words (he also wrote the screenplay). I also liked how various clues were peppered throughout the film, including a reoccurring poster that you could see in the background titled "Deja Vue", water flowing here and there, as well as many other cool little tidbits that one could probably notice more the second time around...if one were inclined to see the movie again, that is. If you are thinking about seeing this film, be aware that it is not really a thriller (other than the opening scene, no real suspense) or a female assassin flick. It's more like a mystery than anything else, a character analysis, if you will...and also, quite a bit more European than American (a handful of subtitles also mine its French landscape).

And for anyone who knows of director Brian DePalma's previous work, you will surely recognize every little bit of it in this picture as well. He's over the top, pretentious at times, obvious at others, sexually perverted, but in my opinion, fun enough for at least one visit. Fellow film critic Roger Ebert gave this film the highest possible mark with four stars out of four, while many others critics have ripped it a new A-hole. It's really one of those movies that will be dividing audiences, but for my money, I thought it was enjoyable enough to give a whirl, especially for its sexy nature, fun style and over-the-top, but effective, ending. In fact, it's one of those movies that makes me want to see it again one day, just to see what else I can pick up the next time around. As for style-whores...this movie was made for you!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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