Femme Fatale is a stylish thriller. That's all it is.
The movie is set at the Cannes film festival as a group of thieves are trying to steal some valuable 'body-jewelery'. The plan goes wrong and our femme fatale ends up with jewels and eludes the police.
It's De Palma's story that moves the movie along from this point. He's choosing to show you things that may be true or may be false. It's definitely a director's movie and not an actor's movie.
De Palma also tries to continue to adjust his craft. In his last film, Snake Eyes, he pulls off one of the longest continuous shots in history. In Femme Fatale, the opening scenes are mostly visual (very little dialogue) and it's this camera style that adds to the voyeurism themes of the movie. Like any good thriller, there are characters on the screen that the audience is fully aware of and the surprises of someone watching them from a far.
I can't help but think of Romijn-Stamos as an attempt to pay homage to the icy Sharon Stone character from a number of years ago. Neither is particularly a great actress, but R-S puts in a decent performance and her sinister laughter after convincing two suitors to fight it out is certainly shrill.
De Palma must spend a lot of time with storyboards because there are some memorable shots in Femme Fatale. He uses a low camera angle and slow motion to capture a chase scene on foot. Then, he uses some great overhead shots of Paris to keep the audience aware.
There are a lot of inside jokes in this movie and even as a movie fan, I probably didn't catch them all. Sometimes it feels that De Palma is having fun at the expense of his audience and I doubt that makes anyone feel great.
Again, this isn't a great film, but it's not bad for a Saturday afternoon.
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