Monday, December 17, 2012
FEMME FATALE (2002)
Cinematography By: Thierry Arbogast
Editor: Bill Pankow
Cast: Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Rie Rasmussen, Gregg Henry, Eriq Ebouaney
The thief Laurie Ash steals the expensive diamond jewel called 'Eye of the Serpent' in an audacious heist during an exhibition in Cannes 2001 Festival. She double-crosses her partners and is mistakenly taken as Lily, a woman who lost her husband and son in an accident and is missing since then, by an ordinary family. One day, while having bath in Lily's bathtub, Lily comes back home and commits suicide. Laurie assumes definitely Lily's identity, goes to America where she marries a rich man, who becomes the Ambassador of USA in France. When Laurie returns to France, her past haunts her.
The problem with this film is that it is all style and no substance at all. The Storyline of this film is not as confusing or complex as it believes itself to be.
Rebecca Romijn doesn’t really play a character as much as she plays a fantasy whose emotions and motives change so much you would believe it if they said she was schizophrenic and the twist after so many others doesn’t feel surprising. As much as it feels like a gimmick to have a nice ending. After all we’ve seen this film before in a way.
Uma Thurman was supposed to originally play the lead, though she would certainly fit the role. I am glad she didn’t as Rebecca Romijn was just beginning her acting career. So her mysterious factor plays well for her character throwing the audience off and not having an actress who brings old roles and screen history to the character.
The film plays like a tawdry thriller. That then seems to end like it’s a Cinderella story only with more violence. I’ll admit the angles, production design and camera work are all exquisite, but that’s the only thing nice. I can say Brian De Palma’s got all the tools he just needs a better foundation to work on.
The film is obviously De Palma’s homage to the classic film noir heroines the classic icy blonde that is found in most film noir novels and films. Here he makes it more of a international affair that aspires to feel like a naughty spy story. As usual you can feel the homages to Hitchcock while making the film entirely his own creation. There is a bunch of stuff to like. It is excellently filmed. The cinematography is perfect. The Actresses look great. It just need a better story
Up until his next film (THE BLACK DAHLIA) I had always given Mr. De Palma the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to his films they are nowhere near the great work he began with and maintained, but sometimes here and again you see some glimpses of the old master in his work. Like the long running takes in SNAKE EYES but, continuously we are left with resentment and disappointed. This looked like a change for the better and in certain ways it is. It has the look and feel of one of his classics but not the story of them.
Melanie Griffith convinced husband Antonio Banderas to take the role of Nicolas Bardo, even though it wasn't the lead. She did it as a favor to Brian De Palma, who gave her her big break in films decades before.
Antonio Banderas didn't really see himself as Bardo, but wanted to learn directorial skills from 'Brian de Palma'. He shared his thoughts with De Palma, who agreed to teach him everything he wanted to know if Banderas took the part.
So it comes off as De Palma lite or worse some New jack doing a imitation of Brian De Palma like film. Just like how he idolizes and makes several homages to Hitchcock. I just hope one day soon he does make another classic. I still feel is him (Though i think we would all prefer more than one, I think at this point we will take what we can get.)
The film manages to be cold and a reminder of classic thrillers. Such as DOUBLE INDEMITY which figures through the film. This is De Palma doing what he does best but feels like a pale imitation of his past work. More Glossy less original then Say BODY DOUBLE that his film puts into mind now and then.
The film tends to go off the rails when it becomes more tawdry then erotic or sexy. Though he manages to make all the females in the film desirable and dangerous.
He is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite directors and you can see his influence in some of Tarantino’s work.