Femme Fatale

The first thing one notices about Femme Fatale is the extremely steamy lesbian sex scene between Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and fellow model Rie Rasmussen. The second thing once notices about Femme Fatale is that Brian De Palma (Mission to Mars, Snake Eyes) doesn't really have much else to the film, so they go back to thinking about the first thing. There are many European influences to Femme Fatale, and it also has a very Hitchcock-ian feel to it. It was also shot in Paris and everything about the movie looks great. However, great influences to not necessarily add up to a good movie.

Femme Fatale is a movie about issues like redemption and second chances. It begins at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where a woman (Romijn-Stamos, Rollerball, X-Men) steals a dress (barely) made of diamonds. She narrowly escapes, and reinvents herself as Laure Ash, a grieving widow and mother. The movie flashes forward seven years into the future. Laure is married to Bruce Hewitt Watts (Peter Coyote, A Walk to Remember, Erin Brockovich), the new US Ambassador to France. She is very hesitant about moving back, since the men she stole the diamonds from are still after her. Resultingly, she is camera shy, which draws the attention of paparazzi Nicolas Bardo (Antonio Banderas, Frida, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever). He snaps a picture of her, setting a series of events into motion.

The big question is whether the audience watching will care what happens at this point. Although the Laure character is now a happy wife, she is still a thief at heart, and her intentions turn out to be not so good. Much is dependent on Romijn-Stamos' performance. In X-Men, she played a homicidal killer. In Rollerball, she played a potentially homicidal athlete with an accent. Now, she's a potentially homicidal killer who sometimes has an accent. Her acting ability took a huge step up, but she is still not believable. There are also some gaping plot holes too, especially when dealing with the seven-year gap in plot.

Banderas is better, but his fascination with the Laure character is out of character. He has a reputation as a ruthless photographer yet feels a large amount of remorse for his actions. No. Femme Fatale propels itself forward by keeping the audience guessing as to what is really happening. The audience would do this, but although there is a lot going on, it is surprisingly boring. No one cares what is really going on. When De Palma reveals the true answer, it feels gimmicky and contrived. One amusing aspect of Femme Fatale is the film East-West is featured prominently (as is its director and star). The movie garnered an Oscar nomination, but will probably get more attention for just being in this movie.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 50 minutes, Rated R for strong sexuality, violence, and language.

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