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Femme Fatale | Review

Twisting and Turning your Feeling the Burning

Curves that kill turns into cumbersome flick that blows chunks.

Borrowing from the notion of the anti-hero and the female antagonist of the classic genre of film noir, critically attacked Brian DePlama’s newest feature is a fallback to the similar pattern of filmmaking from his own repertoire of films as well as from his most influential filmmaker master of suspense -Alfred Hitchcock. Rather than reinventing the genre, Deplama’s Femme Fatale is a contemporary not-so visionary twist in fate flick which will attract plenty of attention from the viewing public and will most likely not silence the critics. As foreshadowed by Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity-Deplama hopes to emulate great filmmaking, – perhaps that is wishful thinking.

The film starts off with plenty of promise-with what turns out to be arguably the best sequence of the entire picture with an elaborate montage of a million dollar jewel heist scene with the backdrop of an actual 2001 film premiere at the red carpet ceremonies of the Grand Palais of the Cannes Film Festival. A shapely tall, very hot blonde lesbian tall (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos- X-Men) has masterminded her own operation to take off with all the goods and some very unhappy people. A push forward in time-a full seven years!, sends the protagonist on her miscalculated wild goose chase, also on the chase is a misplaced paparazzi photographer (Antonio Banderas-Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever) who gets caught up in her spider’s web-question is does he get out? But ultimately they are not the only ones to get shafted-as the narrative will most likely make more than one viewer feel as if they watched a piece of pop-culture retro-do you remember the Dallas episode that saw one entire season as a dream segment? What is the reward of watching this teasingly B-flick of steamy lingerie scenes, some deception, intrigue and some more skin? With dreams, visions and double endings-the film rewards the viewer with an entertainingly cheese-fest that goes the distance until the tragic cue of a major plot twist which makes this film into a purely second grade narrative mess.

Inspired by his own work- this film has definite resemblance in visuals and narrative of Dressed to Kill and the principle theme of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The plot is constructed in such a way that the viewer gets pieces of information interrupted by the play in the multiple faces and facets of –la femme fatale. Carrying her first film, Romijn-Stamos looks right for the part- the super model convincingly gets the beautiful aspect on cue, but as soon as the dialogue sets in-

well after the 30 minute mark- the persona of her character loses all the edge-she comes off looking less mentally tough and less compelling.

Always enjoyable in a Deplama film is the filmmaker’s emphasis on the art of cinematography and the construction of the shot. The visuals aren’t ground-breaking, but the camera angles and tracking shots are eye-candy for all film connoisseurs. Femme Fatale is definitely sexy but the deep lack in narrative coherence and the lack of rewarding the viewer with a payoff great ending makes this as unsatisfying as the experience of Lynch’s 80% brilliant film of Mulholland Drive. This is lot better than Deplama’s recent currently forays of Mission to Mars and Snake Eyes, but it still doesn’t reach the bar of his previous classics of Blow-out, The Untouchables or even Scarface.

Rating 2 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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