Thursday, October 8, 2009

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale; Thriller, France, 2002; D: Brian De Palma, S: Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Eriq Ebouaney

Cannes films festival. Laura prepares a robbery for her boss: during the premiere of a film, she seduces lesbian Veronica in front of the theater and brings her to the toilette. There she strips her diamond bra during intercourse which gets stolen by her boss. But bodyguards show up who wound the boss so Laura escapes with the diamonds. She takes the identity of a dead girl and gets married for politician Watts in the US. 7 years later, Watts is an ambassador in Paris where photographer Nicolas makes a photo of Laura, which gets noticed by her betrayed boss. In order to save herself and make news that she died, Laura tricks Watts into thinking Nicolas kidnapped her. She kills Watts and Nicolas, but the boss finds her and throws her into the river...Laura wakes up and realizes it was just a dream. 7 years later she really meets Nicolas.

For some reason the talented Brian De Palma never received some directorial recognition as some other directors did. Even some of De Palma's best films, like "Carrie" and "The Untouchables", were received lukewarm by Oscars and Golden Globes. For the 'polished' thriller "Femme Fatale", nothing bad can be said about it if one keeps an open mind for it. The story has flaws in logic and is inconsistent, but always well articulated since it's so bravura directed that the viewers will be impressed at many moments. The visual style is especially noticeable in the fascinating opening: from the first scene where Laura is watching a film on television, through her seduction of Veronica up to her getaway in the dark. And here and there a touch of humor makes everything refreshing, like in the amusing scene where, in a bar full of men, she tells Nicolas: "I think that one over there is in love with me". The final twist will anger many and make them give up on everything, since it is so bizarre that it almost looks like a dream, but if David Lynch can get away with everything, then so can De Palma too.


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