A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Laure / Lily (as Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
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...
...
Black Tie
Edouard Montoute ...
...
Thierry Frémont ...
Serra (as Thierry Fremont)
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Fiona Curzon ...
Daniel Milgram ...
Pierre / Bartender
Jean-Marc Minéo ...
Seated Guard (as Jean-Marc Mineo)
Jean Chatel ...
Cannes Commentator
Stéphane Petit ...
Bodyguard One (as Stephane Petit)
Olivier Follet ...
Bodyguard Two
Eva Darlan ...
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Storyline

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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is more desirable or more deadly than a woman with a secret


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujer fatal  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$664,844 (France) (10 May 2002)

Gross:

$567,253 (Japan) (29 August 2003)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The gold and diamond snake was created for the film by singer and actress Elli Medeiros who was dating Brian De Palma at this time. See more »

Goofs

The film supposedly takes place at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, even though the premiere that was recreated for the opening of the film is for Est - Ouest. The real director Régis Wargnier and the star of the film Sandrine Bonnaire appear as themselves. See more »

Quotes

Laure Ash: Do I pull the trigger or do you get your ass on the plane - and have a wonderful life?
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Connections

References Blow-Up (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

My Ideal
(1930)
Music by Newell Chase and Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played during the Double Indemnity (1944) clip
Published by Famous Music Corp. (ASCAP)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Isn't sugar better than vinegar?
8 November 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

**SPOILER ALERT - The last paragraph makes reference to a 1940s film that constitutes a spoiler. **

There rarely seems to be anything in between where Brian De Palma films are concerned, cinematic lovers of all kinds by and large either trash or laud his films. Femme Fatale is no different, one critic - both professional or amateur - will have it as a 1/10 movie, another will have it at the maximum rate available. Femme Fatale is high grade stuff if one is either a De Palma fan or a lover of film noir. Conversely if these two things don't tick your film loving boxes then the law of averages suggests you should have - or should - stayed/stay away from it.

De Palma opens up the doors to his fun house and invites noir lovers to come on in and enjoy. It's difficult to write about the plot because it holds many twists and turns, it's a veritable supply of uppers and downers, twisters and benders, all sexed up and pumped full of De Palma's trademark tricks and devilish rug pulls. In truth the story and set-up is predictable, but the journey is what makes the pic ooze quality and bare faced cheek, with the director giggling away like a schoolgirl in the background.

Opening up with a sequence that sees our titular fatale (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) watching famed noir classic Double Indemnity, De Palma proceeds to homage and love the film noir world. As he uses split-screens, canted angles, up-tilt shots, shadow plays etc, the narrative pulses with eroticism and impending cruelty, this really is a femme fatale based movie of the grandest kind. As events unfurl, with hapless photographer Nicola Bardo (a fun packed Antonio Banderas) caught in the web, Ryuichi Sakamoto's magnificent classical based score swirls around like some sort of peeping tom. The latter of which finds a shifty accomplice in Thierry Arbogast's noir photography.

It's a picture awash with dupes, dopes and vengeful criminals, where the themes of identity, duality, sexuality and distorted perceptions gnaw away at those investing fully in the viewing experience. Some critics (prof and amat) have lazily likened the film to David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, as if De Palma in 6 short months watched Lynch's movie and then knocked this film out! The copy-cat charge as funny as the rug-pull that De Palma pulls here. Besides, as any film noir lover will tell you, this has more in keeping with Fritz Lang's 1944 noirer "The Woman in the Window" than Lynch's film, which is no bad thing at all, and De Palma knew that. 8/10


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