‘Femme Fatale’ is De Palma’s looniest neo-noir, and also his best

- Advertisement -


Femme-Fatale-2

Femme Fatale
Written and directed by Brian De Palma
France/Switzerland, 2002

A sexy thief strips a woman of her golden underwear as her cohort collects them from the other side of the bathroom stall at Cannes. That the absurd, amusing, and schlocky sexuality of the opening heist in Femme Fatale comes from the mind of director Brian De Palma is hardly surprising.

De Palma is often seen in red carpet shoots of film festivals, slouching around from screening to screening. In short, he is still just a movie nerd, and always has been. This has been evident since his early work, often at the time dismissed as Hitchcockian riffs. 2002’s Femme Fatale is easily the quintessential De Palma film. It also happens to be the looniest, and funniest, of his oeuvre.

The thief in question, Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-still-Stamos), is the eponymous Barbara Stanwyck writ large and filthy. Almost immediately after the convoluted robbery, she double-crosses her partners and flees to Paris. Through a series of further noir-ish complications, she trades places with her convenient doppelgänger. Soon after, she is heavily involved in more seductive double-crossing as she manipulates a photographer, Nicolas (Antonio Banderas), seemingly for the sake of a good laugh. The level and execution of betrayal in Fatale at this point have already become mind-numbing, intentionally too hard to get a grasp on. However, the opening heist at Cannes lays it out very clearly to the audience: folks, you’re watching a movie.

Femme-Fatale-1

It’s fitting, then, that Fatale follows two unsuccessful attempts at more mainstream blockbusters. Roger Ebert wrote of Snake Eyes that, had De Palma been half as good at rewriting as he were at visual style, it would have been “a heck of a movie.” Here, De Palma does away with any blockbuster desire, going through his own looking glass and into a funhouse mirror of what makes De Palma De Palma. Every fetishistic theme and obsession is packed into reference upon homage. In a rare twist, the lacking performances by the two leads (Romijn fares the worst here) actually help the film’s over-the-top, everything but the kitchen sink approach. It approaches levels of tongue-in-cheek of which Basic Instinct could have only dreamt.

That’s to say nothing of a climax that involves every happenstance and deux ex machina that can fit onto a split screen. De Palma has always been known, even in his lesser efforts, for a rousing last act. That some are far fetched (a sundial approaching the hero’s neck is randomly shot in two in Raising Cain) and others are simply bizarre dream sequences rarely takes away from the sheer joy of their construction.

— Kenny Hedges





10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
Luke Evans at the Los Angeles premiere of Beauty And The Beast held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
10 Best Luke Evans Movies (He did that?)
Football movie being filmed
The 25 Greatest Football Movies of All Time
12 Different Types of Cellos
20 Different Types of Balloons
12 Different Types of Pecans
28 Different Types of Pineapple
20 Different Types of Limes
Table with a variety of nuts in bowls
20 Most Popular Types of Nuts (with Nutrition Fact Charts)
10 Different Types of Tow Trucks
Electric mountain bike on the trails
18 Things to Know Before Buying an Electric Bike
Side and rear view of black 2017 Audi A7
23 Things to Know Before Buying an Audi A7
Motorhome on highway going through Bryce Canyon in the USA
13 Types of RV’s (Recreational Vehicles) for All Kinds of Vacation Fun
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
16 Types of Barbells for All Types of Lifts and Workouts
9 Different Types of Website Hosting
5 Different Types of Pulleys (Plus Examples in Daily Life)
Apple Wallet icon on iPhone
15 Things to Know Before Setting Up Apple Pay
Inside a beautiful spa business
6 Capabilities the Best Spa Scheduling and Business Software Should Have
Natural herbal vitamins.
10 of the Best Online Vitamin Stores
>