HTF REVIEW: "Femme Fatale" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    Femme Fatale





    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    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
    completely illogical.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    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!

    [​IMG]

    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.


    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    There are no less than four Featurettes included
    on this DVD.

    [​IMG]

    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)

    [​IMG]

    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'
    character.
    (length: approx. 2 minutes)

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    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.


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    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
     
  2. Kenneth English

    Kenneth English Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review, Ron!

    I liked the movie a WHOLE lot more than you did, though. IMHO, this is the best movie DePalma's done since BODY DOUBLE. But then I'm an unrepentent DePalma-phile. Love the man's work. Can't wait for this one. [​IMG]
     
  3. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    I'm with Kenneth, this movie was terrific. Right up my alley. I've actually pre-ordered the disc, something I haven't done since the glory days of reel.com's coupon extravaganza.

    Pieter
     
  4. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Hey, that shower scene is a direct ripoff from Kentucky Fried Movie.[​IMG]
    And it doesn't even 'measure' up (.)(.)!
     
  5. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    I don't think DePalma has ever recorded a commentary track, but I was hoping that this would be his first one. If he had done one, this disc would've been a must-buy for me. As it is, I may hold off for a while unless first-week B&M deals are good...

    DJ
     
  6. Matt_P

    Matt_P Second Unit

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    Nice review, Ron.

    Despite the film's well assembled opening, I found it to be all style, and very little substance. I was quite disappointed.

    FYI, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos certainly made it watchable...[​IMG]
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Matt,

    I agree that the opening of the film was well
    assembled, and probably the most worthy substance
    of this film.
     
  8. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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    I was gona buy the DVD whether the world ended or not, so... but still good to see another review to attract attention to this overlooked film.
    It was not only one of my favorites of 2002, but of all time, incredible masterpiece! [​IMG]
     
  9. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    I am so getting this one....
     
  10. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Its not listed in the review, but is there any chance that the highly impressive French trailer (the whole film played back at 60x speed) is on there?
     
  11. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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  12. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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  13. William DAnnucci

    William DAnnucci Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this in the theaters and decided to rent the DVD last night to check it out again. Still endless and shameless fun...definitely the biggest guilty pleasure of 2002 alongside BLADE 2.

    I kinda wished it had more extras, although some of the featurettes were nice. Fans should note that scene with the special subtitles (where they get bigger and bigger AND BIGGER) only has normal sized subs the whole time when played on my Pioneer. Oh well, the exagerrated subs were a hoot when I saw it theatrically.
     
  14. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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    Oh no, I'd like burned in subtitles for French, especially when they play a rather important role in that scene, and we get player generated crap again? Damn.
     
  15. Richard_D_Ramirez

    Richard_D_Ramirez Second Unit

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    Oooh, I'm sooooo getting this one. I remember discussing this film well after the credits ended in the theater. We had to be booted out of the theater room by the clean-up crew!

    Now's my chance to catch the
    the actors' lips not matching the subtitles, or at least that was what I was told to watch out for, when this first came out....

    8^B
     
  16. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    . Laure (Rebecca Romijn-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


    Umm Ron. I am rather partial to the bar scene where Laure instigates a fight between two studs. It may be the sexiest scene I have ever seen in a movie. Who can forget her coy invitation to the winner?

    You don't have to lick my asshole, just fuck me!


    This DVD is a total quilty pleasure. It has very little substance, but who cares? It is one to watch for the two scenes of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos This woman is so hot.
     
  17. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    ashley i agree about the pool table scene ron must have stepped out of the room for that one.

    i thought the beginning was excellent and thought the end was very good too.

    the middle was interesting but was way too slow and drawn out.
     
  18. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    Just watched this for the first time...only thing Ive gotta say is: [​IMG] Brilliant! Brilliant!
     
  19. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I thought the beginning of this was amazing. I loved how the camera and music told the story with very little dialogue. [​IMG]

    I have to see it again, but I enjoyed FF.
     

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