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Femme Fatale

3.7 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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(Mar 25, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Femme Fatale is a contemporary film noir about an alluring seductress (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) suddenly exposed to the world -- and her enemies -- by a voyeuristic photographer (Antonio Banderas) who becomes ensnared in her surreal quest for revenge.

Special Features

  • From Dream to Reality - discussing the director and cinematographer's approach in creating the film's look
  • Dream Within a Dream - explores the filmmaker's process and his influence
  • Femme Fatale: Dressed to Kill montage
  • Femme Fatale: Behind the Scenes
  • Two theatrical trailers (French and North American)

Product Details

  • Actors: Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote, Eriq Ebouaney, Edouard Montoute
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: Brian De Palma
  • Producers: Chris Soldo, Marina Gefter, Mark Lombardo, Tarak Ben Ammar
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000897EA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Femme Fatale" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew White on February 12, 2003
Format: DVD
Mr. De Palma is not a critics' darling, and as such his latest, Femme Fatale, has come in for his usual roasting. Is it deserved? Not if you love a film that embraces the visual splendour and techniques that make cinema a unique art form. Not if you love the medium. Not if you love film.
Femme Fatale sees De Palma returning to his forte and his professed preferred genre: the suspense thriller. It is a welcome return considering his recent fare have seen him straying to more mainstream efforts - Mission to Mars, Mission: Impossible - that were shells of his virtuoso films of the late 70s and early 80s.
The film leads off with a stunning 20-minute Jewel heist sequence that takes place during the Cannes film festival of 2001. Completely bereft of dialogue, a la Topkapi, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos's character has the enviable task of lifting a diamond dress from Rie Rasmussun in a bathroom encounter. His first original screenplay in 10 years, De Palma writes a tightly-plotted tale that certainly does not lead the audience by the hand, and the resulting twists it provides will allow different perspectives on the film's events with repeat viewings. It's not passive cinema; too often a film will guide the audience by the hand like a child. De Palma's direction and script respects the audience's intelligence, and it is indeed satisfying.
Antonio Banderas - usually lost without cause if not working with Robert Rodriguez - does what he needs to do with efficiency; Romijn-Stamos, the Femme Fatale of the title, provides the eye candy. The acting is not top drawer, but it does not need to be: we're here to see an auteur in his element: De Palma delivers.
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Format: DVD
Brian DePalma has a delightfully wicked sense of irony, and a twisted sense of humor which is sadly lacking and sorely missed in today's overly self-serious pop culture. This makes watching Femme Fatale feel fresh and exciting, even though such irony was a prime staple of movies in the '70's -- a decade largely regarded as DePalma's prime. That is when he directed Carrie, Phantom of the Paradise & Dressed to Kill, among others.
The Femme Fatale in this movie is a diamond thief/con-artist named Laure who assumes the identity of another woman to escape some partners she double crossed. She is wonderfully evil, and great fun to watch as she manipulates the men around her using her body and her tears in order to get what she wants.
But there is a great deal more of this movie to love. Brian DePalma delights in playing tricks with cinematic conventions both narrative and visual. His love for unusual camera angles is still present in this film, which delivers a plot that twists and turns as seductively as Laure's strip tease. I picked up clues as to one major plot twist early on, hoping I would be wrong. I was partly right, DePalma took something that would have left me groaning in lesser hands and twisted it so that I was laughing with delight as the climax approached.
DePalma has also mellowed out a bit with this movie. Much of his prior films would feature gallons of bright red blood and gruesome, creative, deaths of beautiful women. This film keeps much of the fake blood away from the women, cutting away from any of their more potentially gruesome death scenes.
This movie is highly rescommended to those who enjoy being surprised. Watch it. You may think you have it figured out, but there is no way anyone could guess the ending. As the credits start to roll, you will realise that you were in the hands of a cinematic master with an impish sense of humor.
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Format: DVD
Is Brian De Palma an artistic genius, or what? This is his best movie since 1989's "Casualities of War" and 1987's "The Untouchables." While "Femme Fatale" isn't as character driven as "Casualties of War" or "The Untouchables", it still draws you into the story much like "Scarface" (also directed by De Palma) where it was hard to like any of the characters of that film either.
The budget for the film was only $35 million. Normally I'd stay away from a movie starring Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. But the way critics talked about "Femme Fatale" made me want to see it, so I bought the DVD.
De Palma wrote "Femme Fatale" and during one of the featurettes after watching the movie on DVD, one of the producers said how about 1/3 of the movie was in the script, and the rest of it DePalma came up with while shooting (the way the film looked.) The producer who said this had worked with many directors including Spielberg. The idea that De Palma shoots a film the way he does must be very challenging, but at the same time exciting for the cast and crew.
De Palma admits that those seeing "Femme Fatale" will be split down the middle near the end of the movie upon finding out what's been going on for the past 100 minutes. But like Antonio Banderas says in one of the featurettes, De Palma doesn't care. He'd rather be artistic and challenge his audience. Whether that comes across to you like it did for me, I guess that depends on what kinds of movies you like you see.
The film is beautifully shot by Thierry Arbogast, and the score by Ryuichi Sakamoto couldn't be better. Antonio had some very funny lines, and the two French actors who are in on the original heist are perfect for the movie.
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