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.
Depending on how you look at it, Femme Fatale is either Brian De Palma’s purest Hitchcock tribute or his most lurid, ludicrous Hitchcock parody. Devoid of anything resembling narrative or dialogue, it opens with an extraordinary, forty-minute set piece that takes place at the heart of the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, and proceeds more or less as a series of subsidiary set pieces, most of them revolving around a paparazzo, played by Antonio Banderas, and a woman anxious to protect her identity, played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Most of it is set in Paris, and the European backdrop often recalls Obsession, De Palma’s other purest exercise in Hitchcockian style. Beyond that, it’s hard to describe, except to say that without anything…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I can't quite decide how I feel about this. On one side we've got a film that is potentially too smart for me, with layers that won't be revealed until after a few rewatches. On the other hand, maybe that would be giving De Palma too much credit. One thing I do know is that I hated the ending. Making me watch half the film thinking one thing is happening and then taking it all away is the worst thing a filmmaker can do. For me it is the ultimate cheap trick and I don't think I can forgive De Palma for doing it. I thought he was better than that. It's entirely possible that someone has a good take or interpretation that would make me like it but until that happens I'm not going for it.
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.
Inventiva visual, gran inici a Cannes, tocs sexys, atmòsfera noir...però també amb molts punts febles que la fan allunyar de les millors obres de De Palma.
Highly visual, great openning scene at Cannes, sexy touches, noir atmosphere...but with several weak points that place this film far away of the greatest works of De Palma.
Skipped this film upon its release in 2002, but decided to check it out this morning. Rebecca Romjin stars as a jewelry thief given a second chance, but will her past catch up with her? Brian DePalma's erotic mystery thriller about choices and consequences is one of the maestro's best films.
The plot is confusing and this movie worths a watch just to see the gorgeous Mystique naked and her erotic scenes with Banderas.
And some critics had the verve to compare this flick to two of De Palma's best thrillers: Body Double and Dressed to Kill. Unfortunately it doesn't get close to those movies.
This is a solid sexy movie right from the very beginning. It's deliberately nonsensical, and deceptive, but has a real cool attitude to it. You're either going to love or hate it.
Best watched through a hand mirror.
Aggressively nonsensical. De Palma - though he can occasionally be a good filmmaker - has a kind of crippling artistic arrogance that wallows in its tawdry proclivities.
Very stylish, very De Palma movie with a typically crazy twisted plot. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and some scary guys orchestrate a diamond heist at a French film festival, which she then sabotages and makes off with all the jewels. After evading an attempted murder by one of the guys she double-crossed, she then happens upon a lookalike who commits suicide, and she takes the opportunity to steal the dead woman's identity, and then gets married to an American diplomat that she meets on a plane. Fast forward 7 years, and she returns to France, and the other one of her accomplices for the heist is now out of prison and out for revenge. Antonio Banderas takes her picture and publishes it,…
Sleazy, lurid, nonsensical, and full of fun formal flourishes -- in other words, a Brian De Palma movie!
Deluso dal maestro..
Un thriller banale e scontato, con personaggi alquanto piatti e stereotipati che si salva in corner solo mediante il meschino utilizzo di un abusato trucchetto narrativo.
Ci sono alcune scene in cui, esteticamente, s'intravede la maestria di DePalma (in particolare le scene a sfondo erotico e la sequenza conclusiva).
Inoltre la storia risulta inutilmente buonista e forzatamente ammiccante per il grande pubblico (storia d'amore messa a caso, redenzione, pseudo-colpi di scena).
40 MINUTE OPENING SEQUENCE SET AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL AND A 7 YEAR TIME JUMP RIGHT AFTER THAT.
BOTTOM LINE: THERE IS ONLY ONE BRIAN DEPALMA.
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.