Senior HTF Member
- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
Studio: Warner Brothers
Film Length: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
Femme Fatale is Brian De Palma's latest entry
into artful world of contemporary film noir. DePalma
conceived of the project while attending Cannes last
year, and raised the production funds independently
so that he could maintain creative freedom.
Despite the fact that many DePalma fans regard
Femme Fatale as his most daring, beautiful
liberated work in years, you can count me in as one
fan who was a bit disappointed in the results of what
was promised to be a highly "erotic thriller" from
the veteran thrillermeister that should know how to
make these films better than anyone else. When you
consider that this is the man who brought us such
films as The Untouchables, Dressed To Kill and
Carlito's Way, you sort of wonder what happened
here. Femme Fatale succeeds as a film that's
well directed with beautiful cinematography but
fails on a plot with so little coherence that is just
The movie begins at the Cannes Film Festival in
France. A supermodel is donning a gown made of
diamonds worth $10 million. Laure (Rebecca Romijn-
Stamos)is a photographer who gets into the festival
and lures the model into the bathroom where she begins
to seduce her. In the film's only truly seductive
scene, the two women passionately kiss each as
Laure strategically removes the diamond-covered
outfit and replaces it with a phony suit made of
glass. She has several accomplices aiding her in
the plot, and eventually security shows up to the
distress call. Laure escapes with the diamonds leaving
her fellow companions behind to be caught.
The rest of the film takes place seven years later,
turning into a cat-and-mouse game that involves a
former paparazzo (Antonio Banderas), a cynical cop,
a plunge in the Seine, and an overflowing barrel
of red herrings. DePalma tries to weave this film
into a sly, vengeful female empowerment thriller, but
unfortunately it doesn't make a strong impression
once its over. May I also add that those of you
looking for any explicit nudity from actress Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos are going to be gravely disappointed.
How is the transfer?
You have to admit, Warner Brothers is consistent
with delivering outstanding transfers with all their
new theatrical product. This is no exception. You'll
find this transfer delivers a pristine print with
exceptional image quality that is well detailed.
Colors are very warm here and well rendered. Many
of the film's night shots remain well detailed
despite low-lighting. There is no distractive
background noise to be seen anywhere. Very nice!
The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not very active,
though I did not expect it would be. Audio is
mostly front-heavy here, presented with excellent
clarity and distinct stereo separation. Dialogue is
also clear with no distortion. The rears occasionaly
provide the ambient sounds of the Paris city, as
well as a few weather effects. No complaints here.
There are no less than four Featurettes included
on this DVD.
Visualizing Femme Fatale brings us face-to-face
with director Brian DePalma who describes his vision
of making a film about a Femme Fatale who is involved
in a heist, takes off with the loot, and double-crosses
everyone along the way. It was actually during a
real-life walk down the red carpet at Canne's film
festival that DePalma realized the perfect way to
tell his story. Producer Tarak Ben Ammar talks
about immediately connecting with the director
after reading the script, and how he and DePalma
went about casting the film. Actress Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos talks about first meeting Brian DePalma,
and being mostly terrified about taking on the
part due to the fact that she was an inexperienced
actress. In an interview with Antonio Banderas,
the actor seems very surprised and pleased with
Rebecca's acting performance. Actor Peter Coyote
is just thrilled to be part of this project, as
these are the type of films he has loved all his life.
(length: approx. 11 minutes)
Femme Fatale: An Appreciation is a rather
lengthy, in-depth look at the filmmaking process
with interviews from the director of Photography,
visual consultant and music composer. It certainly
succeeds in picking the brain of DePalma who is
not hesitant to describe how he framed many of his
scenes and his approach in creating the film's look.
(length: approx. 23 minutes)
Femme Fatale: Dressed to Kill serves no other
purpose than being a montage of film clips and sound
bytes that concentrate on Rebecca Romijn-Stamos'
(length: approx. 2 minutes)
Behind The scenes is the normal promotional
fare that basically glosses over all the material
seen in the above featurettes in a short 4-minute
time span. There are interviews with Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos as well as Antonio Banderas who talk
about the film and their characters all intertwined
with lots of appealing film clips.
(length: approx. 4.5 minutes)
Coming up from behind are extras that include a
cast and film filmography as well as the
film's original theatrical trailer and even
a french trailer.
It's so nice to see Brian DePalma back in action
after a short absence, attempting to combine all
his best tricks from every previous thriller he's
ever made into one great film noir effort. While the
prospect of such a film may look appetizing, it
left me with a rather bitter aftertaste.
Rent it out of curiosity. I imagine there will
be many who will adore this film more than I did.
Release Date: March 25, 2003
All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality