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HTF REVIEW: "Femme Fatale" (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein

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.

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.

Special Features

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.

Final Thoughts

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

Kenneth English

Second Unit
Sep 29, 1999
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. :emoji_thumbsup:

PS Nystrom

Second Unit
Jan 27, 1999
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.


Ed St. Clair

Senior HTF Member
May 7, 2001
Hey, that shower scene is a direct ripoff from Kentucky Fried Movie.:emoji_thumbsup:
And it doesn't even 'measure' up (.)(.)!

Damin J Toell

Senior HTF Member
Mar 7, 2001
Brooklyn, NY
Real Name
Damin J. Toell
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...



Second Unit
Sep 19, 2000
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...;)

Ronald Epstein

Senior HTF Member
Jul 3, 1997
Real Name
Ronald Epstein

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


Supporting Actor
Jun 20, 2002
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! :D

Iain Lambert

Jun 7, 1999
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?


Supporting Actor
Jun 20, 2002
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?
Yes there is! I've seen it prior to the US trailer and been disappointed, that French one is way better.

Ray H

Senior HTF Member
Jun 13, 2002
Real Name
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?
Look at the special features menu shot. "French traler" is the last option. ;)

William DAnnucci

Stunt Coordinator
Jan 7, 2001
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.


Supporting Actor
Jun 20, 2002
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.


Second Unit
May 21, 2001
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....


Ashley Seymour

Supporting Actor
Jun 29, 2000
. 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.


Who do we think I am?
Senior HTF Member
Dec 1, 1999
Gulf Coast
Real Name
Tony D.
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.


Senior HTF Member
Dec 28, 1998
I thought the beginning of this was amazing. I loved how the camera and music told the story with very little dialogue. :emoji_thumbsup:

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

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