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Femme Fatale
2002 - R - 110 Mins.
Director: Brian DePalma
Producer: Tarak Ben Ammar
Written By: Brian DePalma
Starring: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Antonio Banderas, Rie Rasmussen, Peter Coyote
Review by: Joe Rickey
Dark, complex, and most of all, erotic, Femme Fatale marks a fine return to form for director Brian DePalma after many big budget flops in a row appeared on his resume. The plot of the film surrounds the secretive life of a beautiful criminal (Rebecca Romijn Stamos) who wants to reform her life and has much trouble escaping her former life of crime. The film costars Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Gregg Henry, Sandrine Bonnaire, and Jean Reno. As I mentioned, the film is directed by Brian DePalma (Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars). DePalma also scripted Femme Fatale.

Once revered among many, director Brian DePalma has been on a downward spiral for the last couple years now starting with the noir misstep Snake Eyes and continuing with the space bore Mission to Mars. This all from the man who directed the first adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller Carrie, a well-received horror film that helped launch his career along with those of Sissy Spacek and John Travolta. Now he returns to his roots in erotic thrillers with Femme Fatale, a worthy companion to earlier DePalma films Body Double and Dressed to Kill. In fact, Femme Fatale surpasses the two previous thrillers in pacing and flashy photography.

The film smartly decides against dwelling on the more unbelievable portions of the story by moving everything along at a breakneck pace. Therefore, the complexity doesn't overwhelm the viewer. The aforementioned flashy cinematography aids the glamorous tone of the film. The acting by Stamos is surprisingly solid in the lead role. She isn’t nearly as stiff and monotone as she has been in the past and certainly fulfills the sexy quotient. Antonio Banderas conversely, seems bored most of the time and therefore doesn’t impress. His recent trend of acting bored in his films (Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever included) has made him much less of an impressive acting talent than he once used to be. Femme Fatale is also excessively gratuitous in its sex scenes at times, especially the sex scene that occurs within the film's opening moments. But there are other times where the film is erotic without going overboard.

The film mimics in many ways the story of last year's Mulholland Dr. (The lesbian element is even copied) in ways that I can't describe without giving away too much. The film also tends to become overly violent in some scenes that, along with the graphic sexual nature of the film, make Femme Fatale a very adult picture that even some adults are likely to find too graphic for their tastes. Thankfully, the film isn’t as dull and boring as last year’s Original Sin, which also starred Banderas, with Angelina Jolie as his love interest.

Overall, Femme Fatale is recommended to those that can handle a complex and engaging film that is extremely violent and sexual in nature along with being a wonderfully complex film that is a perfect return to form for who is an extremely talented director in Brian DePalma. The film even is blessed with surprisingly good performances by its magnetic leads and supporting cast.

Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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