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Film Review - Femme Fatale
Wow, this is a wild ride! Femme Fatale is the latest thriller from Writer/Director Brian De Palma. Shot almost completely in dream sequence, it tells the tale of a jewel thief (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) standing at the cross roads between triumph and tragedy.
The opening is a real grabber. The Cannes film festival is in full swing. A woman wearing nothing above her waist except a wrap-around piece of jewelry is seduced in a ladies' room. While the woman seducing her is removing the jewels a man is putting them in a bag. The theft is discovered in mid-lesbian-grope, and the job becomes very bloody with most of the men either dead or going to jail.
The twist is that the women were in cahoots with each other, and the jewels they were dropping to the floor were fakes. The real jewels vanished. About now, the dream sequence begins and we see the two possibilities of Romijn-Stamos's life.
The film is very visually appealing. De Palma used the French back drop for all it was worth. The sequence at the Cannes film festival was shot at, you guessed it, the Cannes film festival. De Palma also doesn't over light the scene. Shadows are his friend.
Antonio Banderas plays the supporting role of Nicolas Bardo, a photographer who becomes obsessed with the Romijn-Stamos character from the moment she enters his lens. We see much of the story through his eyes. In fact that metephor is fully played by the collage he is making from photographs he shoots from his balcony. The collage is only finished with the closing shot.
If you're like me and always guess the end of the movie about 30 minutes before it happens, you'll be happy to know what you probably won't in this case. Femme Fatale is not a "safe" cookie cutter movie from the Hollywood bakery. It's outside the norm of what you regularly see. I've really got to applaud De Palma for finding a way to get financing for a film outside the main stream. If more films like this could be made, we'd have a better film diet.
Directed by Brian De Palma
Released in 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo