Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Femme Fatale

Now 20 years-old, I have some definite affection for writer/director Brian De Palma's 2002 film even if it relies on a pair of problematic twists for its ultimate payoff, either one of which could easily turn a viewer off. Rebecca Romijn stars as a thief and con-woman who disappears with the loot after double-crossing her partners in the opening scene set during the Cannes Film Festival. She disappears into the life of a random stranger who just happens to look identical to her and whose life suddenly becomes available. The second twist involves life being a dream which is as least as fanciful as the first. Fast-forward seven years and our thief is living the good life as the wife of an American ambassador in Paris. However, a Spanish paparazzo (Antonio Banderas) taking her picture will bring dangers from the past flooding back.

Romijn earns the title role here as the sultry femme fatale who manages to play all the men in the film (and even women), although some prove to be less forgiving than others. It's actually quite fun seeing Romijn twist various marks around to do her bidding (including blackmailing the photographer into helping her stage her own kidnapping). Along with its various twist and turns, the film is memorable for its sultrier sequences including the robbery in which she seduces the model (Rie Rasmussen) wearing custom jewels in the women's restroom and her striptease for Banderas in the seedy dive bar as an attempt to bend him to her will.

After accepting the highly improbable first twist, even after multiple viewings I still have trouble with the second. That said, despite my issues with aspects of the plot, there's definitely some enjoyment to be found in the sordid and stylish film for those willing to bend their sense of disbelief right up to the breaking point. The movie has recently be released on Blu-ray with a couple of new interviews along with previously released featurettes on the making of the film.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Femme Fatale
  • IMDb: link

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