Monday, July 7, 2014

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale (2002)
Movie rating: 8/10
DVD rating: 9/10
Release Date: March 25, 2003
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Rating: R
Distributor: Warner Home Video
List Price: $26.98
Disc Details
Special Features: Widescreen anamorphic format
Chapter selection
Featurette: "From Dream to Reality"
Featurette: "Dream Within a Dream "
Featurette: "Femme Fatale: Behind the Scenes"
Dressed to Kill montage
Cast and crew bios and filmography
Theatrical trailers: French and American
Video Format: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Languages: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French.
Captions: Yes
Casing: 1-Disc Snap Case

Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) is very, very bad. The sexy siren is part of a team of high-tech thieves aiming to steal ten million dollars worth of diamonds off the body of a hot young starlet at Cannes. Laure seduces the hot young starlet in a posh toilet. Little do Laure's cohorts realize that the sexy bad girl is going to getaway with the goods. Laure flees the scene. The next day she is mistaken for a young widow at a funeral she attends. Through a series of chance events, Laure finds herself in the apartment of her very own suicidal-doppelganger. You will learn no more from me.

Brian De Palma once again proves that he is the rightful heir to the crown of Alfred Hitchcock. "Femme Fatale" must be seen more than once to fully appreciate what an artist and craft's man De Palma is. I hated this film when it ended. A few minutes later, I found myself liking it. I went round and round this way for hours, so I decided to watch it again.

The less said about the plot of "Femme Fatale" the better. This is a movie that should be viewed without expectations other than you are going to love it or hate it, only to love it later.

Rebecca Romijn-Stamos makes the transition from just another pretty face (with a very hot bod!) to accomplished actress. Ms. Romijn-Stamos pays tribute to the great Noir badgirls of yesteryear in this wonderfully demented and twisted thriller. Antonio Banderas is remarkable good as the good-guy in for a world of hurt once he meets the dragon lady.

De Palma has some wonderful treats in store for those with the patience to pay close attention. De Palma makes great use of split screen. I think this is his best thriller since "Dressed to Kill." There are hints of "Obsession" to be found among the red herrings and plot twists. There is also a maturity to the denouement that I enjoyed.

The Disc
Infuriating, but ultimately satisfying film. Great picture, sound and extras.

Picture Quality: 10/10
Outstanding transfer. Brian De Palma directs the most visually interesting movies you will ever see. "Femme Fatale" is a wonderful return to the visual style he made famous in his great thrillers of the 70s and 80s. Excellent delineation of colors. Great detail in the shadows. No artifacts or pixilation. This is probably the best 'color' Film Noir ever made. Excellent flesh tones with lots of flesh to go with it!

Sound Quality: 10/10
A large portion of the opening sequence is done with very little dialogue. The remarkable sequence is far from silent though. The 5.1 track picks up all of the ambient sounds which surround the characters. Nice balance between the ranges. Rich sound with nice integration of the sub-woofer into the rest of the channels. No loss of dialogue. Ryuichi Sakamoto's score is hauntingly reminiscent of the great Bernard Herrmann scores of "Sisters" and "Obsession." As De Palma shots many long scenes without dialogue, the music is very important.

Menu: 8/10
Sexy, smart menu makes great use of images from the movie. Easy to navigate.

Extra Features: 10/10
There are several excellent featurettes on this DVD. Do not watch them before you see the movie.

"From Dream to Reality" examines the development of "Femme Fatale" from idea to script to the finished project. It includes interviews with the cast and crew. It is good, but I enjoyed the featurette "Dream Within a Dream" more. "Dream Within a Dream" concentrates more on De Palma's style and the film's many twists. The third featurette is a montage of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos's many, and very sexy costumes.

The behind the scenes section is a short promotional piece including interviews given during the film's production. There are also two trailers that are interesting. It is cool comparing the US and French trailers. This gives you an idea of the more mature style of advertising in Europe.

The DVD also includes bios and filmographies for the main cast and crew members.

The Final Word:
"Femme Fatale" will either enthrall you or leave you high and dry. I went through a whole range of emotions before I decided that I really, really liked this movie. Rent it once, then rent it again. You will probably end up renting it a third time or maybe even buying it. A must have for De Palma fans.

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