Femme Fatale
Dir: Brian De Palma
Star: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote
Cert / Year: R / 2002
Format: DVD R1

During a diamond heist at the Cannes film festival the beautiful Laure (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) double crosses her partners and steals the diamonds for herself. But before she can leave France they catch up with her and try to kill her. She escapes and assumes the identity of a girl who has committed suicide. She lives this lie for years marrying a powerful business man. However events take a unwelcome turn as he is sent back to France as the US ambassador. Her picture is taken by broke paparazzi Nicolas Bardo (Antonio Banderas) and before long her ex partners are back on her trail.

Brian De Palma the master of the erotic thriller is back doing what he does best. This film harks back to his earlier films like Dressed to Kill and Body Double, however it does seem a little more sophisticated. It manages to be both sexy and intelligently plotted, not a combination often achieved. If some say its sleazy I would disagree it is positively restrained in terms of nudity compared to many other thrillers of this type (Basic Instinct or De Palma's own Dressed to Kill). It treads a fine line between the two and does it well.

The story is clever and has a strange twist at the end. This ending is a little out there but it is an integral part of the film and although far fetched does work and is original. Hints are given regarding the ending throughout the film. I won't ruin it for you but there are certain images and events that give you clues if you watch closely enough. This is a nice touch and works well. It also means a second viewing is welcome once you have seen the featurettes on the disc to see what you have missed.

Rebecca Romijn-Stamos handles the central role remarkably well. She is beautiful (in a super model thin kind of way), and here she proves that she can act. Following no brainer roles in X-Men and Rollerball this comes as quite a shock. Overall this is a very good performance and one that she can hopefully repeat in the future. Alongside her we have Antonio Banderas, and here he is not playing his usually hero role. his character is weak willed , manipulated and soft. An interesting casting choice that seems to have worked. Other people to look out for are the always good Peter Coyote and Gregg Henry (also seen in the De Palma film Body Double).

The biggest problem with this film faces is its slow pace. The opening heist scenes are great, loads of excitement and very sexy. However the rest of the film fails to live upto this beginning. While the cinematography is stylish and it looks nice, the story takes a long time to develop. Even the ending although it is clever lacks a certain amount of punch. For once this is a film that cries out for more action and less plot.

Femme Fatale is a good erotic thriller. It may lack the pace, excitement, and blatant imagery of Basic Instinct but it is expertly helmed and has a good plot. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos proves to be a way better actress than I would previously have believed, and she holds the film together well. The lack of pace and action is a problem, but the ending does have a clever twist and the inclusion of the clues to it are a nice touch. This may not be his best but Brian De Palma has produced another good thriller.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Good transfer but a little grainy.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Ok but not asked to do much.
Features Three short making of Featurettes
Short video montage
2 Trailers
Verdict Where are the extras? The film transfer is ok but the disc is a big let down.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home