*** Official "FEMME FATALE" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Nov 7, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    30,367
    Likes Received:
    5,649
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Femme Fatale". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    30,367
    Likes Received:
    5,649
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I thought this film was cool! More to follow when I have time to write a short review.




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    The less you know about this film, the better. So, here is my short spoiler-free review:
    Split Screens, Overhead Tracking Shots, Slow Motion sequences, Dialogue-Free Visual Images to tell and advance a story and strong sexuality – these are the garden-variety elements of a skill set and trademarks of the very masterful Brian DePalma.
    This time, add to that the music of Ravel's Bolero, the French backdrop, subtitles that substitute for dialogue, the Cannes Film Festival and you have one of this year’s very skillfully directed mystery-thriller.
    Of course, if you are not a Brian DePalma fan, you’ll leave the theater scratching your head wondering what you just saw. But to his many legions of fans, this is one hell of a treat. With a DePalma film, you know what you are getting. Every shot is carefully planned. The musical score strategically executed.
    I would rank Femme Fatale up there with Blow Out, Carrie, The Untouchables, Mission Impossible and Dressed To Kill as one of DePalma’s best.
    Oh, one more thing: Pay attention!
    Femme Fatale rates [​IMG] (out of four).
    ~Edwin
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Femme Fatale - [​IMG][​IMG] (out of 5)
    Much like John Carpenter (a filmmaker who delivered quality twenty years ago, and very little since), Brian De Palma is a tough filmmaker to defend. Often bashed for hanging his hat a bit too close to Alfred Hitchcock’s, De Palma has enjoyed an eclectic and intermittently successful career…yet throngs of educated movie fans loathe the guy. Sure, it may be easy to knock the guy behind the spectacularly awful Bonfire of the Vanities or the ridiculously forgettable Mission to Mars, but heck – this is the director who gave us The Untouchables and Scarface and Carrie! And Blow Out! And Carlito’s Way!
    So obviously I’m a fan of De Palma’s work, but there’s been a palpable stench of turkey surrounding his latest entry for quite some time now. Never one to let pre-release buzz taint a movie for me, I found myself rather looking forward to Femme Fatale. My enthusiasm remained intact for the film’s mega-slick opening heist sequences, and then promptly deflated into a resigned sigh. Once you get past those initial few moments, Femme Fatale seems a non-stop battle between non-sensical plot contrivance and stunningly awful dialogue. Once you get accustomed to the arcane plot divergences, De Palma offers a finale that seems culled from some unfinished David Lynch flick.
    Yep folks, it pains me to say it, but Femme Fatale skirts dangerously close to the “so bad it’s good” realm of cinematic experience, and if it weren’t for a goofy turn by Antonio Banderas and the hypnotic appearance of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos’ legs every 45 seconds – this would be the movie equivalent of a 2 Sominex tablets and some warm milk.
    The scattershot plot revolves around Laure Ash, a France-based diamond thief and con-artist who has just double-crossed her latest co-conspirators. During a wonderfully jazzy extended sequence that opens the film, Laure and her two partners aim to steal a dazzling $10 million gold breastplate blouse thingie. (Picture a waifish model wearing a golden snake over her gaunt breasts and you get the idea.) Following the robbery (and subsequent double-cross), Laure is mistaken for another woman (one who has just lost her husband and child in an accident), photographed by a meandering paparazzo, and hightails it to the U.S.
    Seven years later…
    Get used to reading those three words, as De Palma employs the trick more than once. Laure is now the wife of a millionaire ambassador, and must return to France…where her former partners are still hunting for her. (Ridiculously ‘fortunate’ timing is only one of the insipid coincidences employed by De Palma’s screenplay.) Nicolas Bardo (the photographer from seven years hence) stumbles over the licentious gal almost immediately upon her arrival.
    Thus begins a seemingly unending series of set-ups, double-crosses, and double-double crosses that will keep one of your eyes rolling in disbelief as the other one studies the second hand on your watch. What begins as a serviceable (though certainly not unique) crime thriller quickly devolves into a flea market full of witless twists, telegraphed turns, and more hilarious dialogue than any one film should ever have. (De Palma seemingly pens his own movies once every ten years or so, and the result is usually quite bad.) A fellow critic sitting a few seats down leaned over to me and muttered “This has got to be a parody, right?” while dozens of ‘normal moviegoers’ were content to giggle at the straight-faced and wackily earnest exchanges offered onscreen.
    As a lead actress, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos sure is...pretty. Those expecting any sort of “breakout” performance may be better served focusing on Stamos’ bra rather than her emoting skills. In other words, she’s screechingly bad. Antonio Banderas fares only a little better, seemingly well aware that he’s been way miscast this time around. Peter Coyote drops in for 2 or 3 scenes, though his talents are unable to tip the scales. (You’d need fifty quality character actors to combat the zombie-esque deliveries of this leading lady.) Why De Palma wanted this actress for the role may seem obvious when you look at her body, but surely the veteran director knew how bad her performance was.
    Chock-full of De Palma’s trademark gimmicks (split-screen action, long and elaborate tracking shots, a devoted insistence to flowery camera flourishes that exist solely as ‘stand-alone’ camera flourishes) and overloaded with way more plot than it really needs, Femme Fatale may not rank among the worst movies of the year (any movie featuring a steamy lesbian make-out scene can’t be all THAT bad), but odds are you'll enjoy it more as a weeknight rental than as a night on the town.
    Movies like this are making it tougher and tougher to refute all those naysayers who insist than De Palma is an irredeemable hack. I still refuse to admit it, but a few more projects like this will certainly convert me to the other side.
     

Share This Page