Femme Fatale
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Etienne George

Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale is a well-crafted movie with some startlingly beautiful images that rival some scenes from a Federico Fellini film. The difference is there is a lot more substance to Fellini’s craftiness and his images – in addition to producing a shocking beauty, like visual poetry, Fellini’s films paint endearing pictures of the characters. There is no sense of manipulation in a film like, Amarcord. It has a life of its own, moving from one visual poem to the next.

In Femme Fatale the audience is always aware that they’re being manipulated. They may not care because the film is so well crafted’ it keeps them guessing and it’s very entertaining. But in the end, when the screen goes dark, and audience members ask themselves what this film was all about, they’re left with a void.

The main character played by Rebecca-Romijn-Stamos is either too evil or too good. This may be intentional on the director’s part to show the extremes of the femme fatale character in the history of movies, but it falls very flat particularly in its Hollywood ending.

All in all this film is one that audiences will either love or hate. It is also very erotic, balancing images of fire and water in a way that leaves subtle clues to what is really happening as opposed to what is illusionary. Make note of how the aquarium is overflowing in one scene but not in another. Femme Fatale is also nothing like any of De Palma’s previous films. If you’re a fan of this director it is well worth seeing.

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