6.3/10
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231 user 148 critic

Femme Fatale (2002)

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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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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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)
...
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
Éva Darlan ...
Irma (as 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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Language:

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Release Date:

6 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujer fatal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$6,592,103 (USA) (6 December 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 favour to Brian De Palma, who gave her her big break in films decades before with, respectively, Body Double (1984) and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). See more »

Goofs

You cannot record with the Sony MiniDisc recorder used in the movie without using an external microphone. See more »

Quotes

French cop: The American ambassador beats his wife?
Nicolas Bardo: Yes, that's right. Yes, and she has the face to prove it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Carnaval des Animaux
(1886)
Written by Camille Saint-Saëns
© Éditions Durand
Courtesy of BMG Music Vision
Published by Carlin / K Musik
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Auteur theory is alive and well with De Palma
10 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

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.

Femme Fatale sees De Palma returning to his forte: 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.

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. Cinema is more than a stage with a camera - De Palma uses his camera and cinema technique to brilliant effect. Huge swooping camera movements, split-screen, slow motion sequences, no dialogue and an enveloping orchestral score; De Palma's signature is prevalent. And that is good: a director should never be an autonomous entity, happy to turn out derivative drivel that get the masses in and out - directors for hire are too commonplace in Hollywood today - and that is something that De Palma could never be accused of.

Femme Fatale is a great example of a director working in a genre he loves and understands, and given the freedom to create. Total cinema? Its smell is sure intoxicating. Welcome back, Mr. De Palma.


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