For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Nothing is more desirable or more deadly than a woman with a secret.
A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her.
I still can't decide if this is one of the best or worst films I've seen. It's brilliant either way. Can't wait for Passion. Rebecca Romijn can't act but this film is all about De Palma.
Like most signature De Palma films, this one acts as a pastiche of other films or other genres, but here De Palma might have actually out-De Palma'd himself. With references and allusions to his own films BLOW OUT and BODY DOUBLE (and by proxy BLOW-UP and REAR WINDOW), not to mention RAISING CAIN, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and the final episode of NEWHART, De Palma might have reached critical mass this time around on the blender effect. Rebecca Romijn (-Stamos? -O'Connell?) fluctuates between being hypnotic on screen at certain points and being incapable of acting at others. Antonio Banderas is slightly better, but the strange acting might be more the result of script problems than actual acting decisions (see Banderas' character's decision…
I can see why some love this film while others find it unwatchable. To me, this delivers exactly the kind of self indulgent and willingly artificial entertainment I look for from Brian De Palma. Two days later, this movie keeps growing more interesting in my mind. It's no Dressed to Kill, but I like it a lot. I've said it before, but in my teens and early twenties, I could never understand why people liked De Palma because everything looked to so fake and anochronistic. For whatever reason, I'm now at a place where I savor every weird decision he makes and find myself thrilled and giddy at how nearly all the scenes in this film play out. Nobody makes movies like De Palma. And it's good to know he still had the magic in 2002 after the disappointing Raising Cain. I hope he can squeeze another couple of these out before he's done.
I made the mistake of making this one of the first De Palma films I saw. I enjoyed it, but I did not really understand his style. Now, after seeing the De Palma's required viewing films like Blow Out and Body Double I can fully appreciate it as his masterpiece. I am not saying his masterpiece in terms of his best film though this maybe it or Carlitos Way, I'm saying it in terms of Femme Fatale being the film he has worked up to his entire career. It is everything you could want from one of his films. Also it has the best line from any of his films " You don't have to lick my ass. Just fuck me!".
Once you adjust yourself to the playful, dreamy register of FEMME FATALE and forgive some of its modest budget aesthetic shortcomings your left with an array of vintage De Palma delights.
The elaborate and largely dialogue-free opening heist at Cannes, the narrative and perspective enhancing split-screen, hypnotic slow-mo sequences, the visual and aural echoes and clues to the oneiric quality of the mystery (the overflowing fish tank is a masterstroke of mise-en-scene), the presence of actor Gregg Henry and a lush Pino Donaggio inspired score by Ryuichi Sakamoto all converge to create a heady, almost classic De Palma film viewing experience.
Plus Rebecca Romjin is smokin' hot in this whatever shortcomings you may find in her acting, on reflection I…
Words appear on screen, yet mouths do not move.
I love De Palma's technical razzle dazzle as much as anyone, but this movie just didn't have the kick of his early gems like Blow Out and Carrie. Apart from a few decent set pieces, things felt tired and warmed over. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos works hard and still manages to give good performance(s), but the ending is just exceedingly silly.
Basically all you can expect from a Brian De Palma erotic thriller and more. He outdoes himself with this one, almost literally recreating one of Hitchock's (presumed) wet/fever dreams with giddy, archaic abandon. 3 cups formalism, 2 cups goofy camp, and a tablespoon of the most hilarious over-the-top surprise death this side of Borimir's 500th slow-mo-arrow-to-the-gut. If you don't get the humor or appreciate the incredible skill exercised here, we need to talk. Our friendship can maybe be salvaged, but, nevertheless, we need to work through this one. Preferably in a women's restroom stall during a Cannes premiere.
Had I seen this movie when it first came out (12 years ago) I probably would have loved it. I've heard this movie referred to as a masterpiece which is what had finally driven me to watch it. Sadly, the big twist feels like a big copout today. I will say it had me pretty intrigued until the twist happened.
La secuencia inicial de "Femme Fatale" es una obra maestra en sí misma, involucrándonos en un ingenioso asalto en medio del festival de Cannes. Lo que sigue es una historia llena de giros inesperados y momentos surreales a cargo del inigualable estilo de Brian DePalma (quien disfruta de usar close-ups intensos y pantallas divididas).
"Femme Fatale" recibió una terrible respuesta por parte de la critica cuando fue estrenada pero es una ingeniosa cinta llena de misterio y erotismo, brillantemente dirigida por DePalma. Muy recomendable.
Oh Lordy, this flick is terrible. Can’t say I’m a huge Brian DePalma fan, but I rented this ’cause I’ve heard from a number of people that it was a return to form for him. And I suppose it is, if by return-to-form you mean Mission to Mars and Snake Eyes.
The first fifteen minutes or so, involving a Cannes jewel heist replete with illicit sex, surveillance cameras, and anorexic supermodels (De Palma clearly has a David Kelley problem when it comes to women) comes off as the type of well-made, trashy, and self-derivative suspense flick I expected from De Palma.
But, almost immediately thereafter, it runs off the rails, and ends up [[Spoilers, not that it really matters] being…
Incredibly seedy at times but a gripping thriller nonetheless with a bravura opening heist at the Cannes Film Festival.
The corkscrew narrative takes a few turns too far in the last act but it's relentless fun and Antonio Banderas' and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' performances offer good value.
I would not recommend seeing this with your father and grandmother in the movie theater at 16 years old. It's difficult to enjoy all that nudity with your grandmother sitting beside you. I don't remember much of the plot as a result, but I do remember it being a very weird sexual twisting film. I think I should probably revisit this one... preferably without my relatives around.
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
- Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat
- Employees Leaving The Lumière Factory
- A Corner in Wheat
- The Musketeers of Pig Alley
- Fantômas Serial
- About Last Night...
- The Accidental Tourist
- Across the Universe
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.