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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.

Director:

Brian De Palma

Writer:

Brian De Palma
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Popularity
2,911 ( 1,396)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rebecca Romijn ... Laure / Lily (as Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
Antonio Banderas ... Nicolas Bardo
Peter Coyote ... Watts
Eriq Ebouaney ... Black Tie
Edouard Montoute ... Racine
Rie Rasmussen ... Veronica
Thierry Frémont ... Serra (as Thierry Fremont)
Gregg Henry ... Shiff
Fiona Curzon Fiona Curzon ... Stanfield Phillips
Daniel Milgram Daniel Milgram ... Pierre / Bartender
Jean-Marc Minéo ... Seated Guard (as Jean-Marc Mineo)
Jean Chatel Jean Chatel ... Cannes Commentator
Stéphane Petit Stéphane Petit ... Bodyguard One (as Stephane Petit)
Olivier Follet 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

France | Switzerland

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

6 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mujer fatal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$664,844 (France), 10 May 2002

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,776,248, 10 November 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$6,592,103, 8 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the trailers for this film consisted of a clip from the classic film noir Double Indemnity (1944), and then the entire span of Femme Fatale (2002), including the credits, albeit with all but a few seconds of the movie greatly speeded up to preserve its twists and to fit it into the under-three-minute span allotted for trailers. See more »

Goofs

The blood on Black Tie's shirt in the woman's bathroom doesn't match the shirt when he is released from prison. See more »

Quotes

Laure Ash: I'm a bad girl Nicolas. Real bad. Rotten to the heart.
See more »

Connections

References Marnie (1964) 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)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Nice little thriller
17 August 2004 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Brian De Palma made a return to the thriller genre in which he made his name after the gigantic blip that was Mission to Mars, which he suffered two years earlier. But is his return to the genre a hit or another misfire? Neither, actually; it's decent.

The plot follows the escapades of a young lady that screws the mob out of a heist of diamonds, stolen during a thrillingly executed heist at the Cannes film festival. After assuming a new identity, she later returns to Paris where she must evade her past by any means necessary.

Brian De Palma obviously has a talent for filmmaking; this is evident in the majority of his works, particularly the earlier ones. It's not as abundant in this film as it is in some of his others, but that flair is still shown to a certain extent. He does, however, seem to spend a lot of the movie piling on the style, when he would have been better served building character and giving the audience something to care about. Anyone that knows De Palma, knows that he is the man that "does Hitchcock". Here, he doesn't tribute Hitchcock, but rather the melodramatic noir thrillers of the 40's and 50's. This is clearly shown at the start of the movie from the shot where Rebecca Romijn Stamos is sat on a bed, watching the classic noir; Double Indemnity.

Having only seen Stamos previously under heavy make-up in the delicious X-Men films, it was nice to see her here in a 'normal' role, especially as I was one of the people that saw her sex appeal, even under all that attire. De Palma teases the viewer with her at first; he keeps her face hidden behind various objects and camera movements, but when she finally appears; she doesn't disappoint; Rebecca is one beautiful woman. Especially when she dons that brown wig. Starring alongside Stamos, is Antonio Banderas. I like Antonio a lot; I rate him as an actor, and not just for his role in the spectacular Desperado series. However, he isn't at his best in this film. In a role that requires him to don a silly gay accent at certain points, Banderas doesn't quite look at home. Maybe it's just because I'm used to seeing him flying round shooting bad guys, but he struck me as being a little bored.

It may or may not be a good thing that the film is done partly in French, as on one hand it makes it more realistic, and firmly places us in France; but on the other, we have to read subtitles in an American film, and when I watch an American film; I'm not expecting to read subtitles. Especially not ones that disappear before you have a chance to read them fully, as they often do here. Another thing about Femme Fatale is that it never manages to be as sexy as it pretends to be. Despite making almost full use of the lead's assets, it is ultimately more tease than strip. This could be seen as a nod to the classics to which the film owes itself, but for a film that states itself as being a 'steamy thriller', I was expecting slightly more steam.

The film boils down a final and surprising twist. Throughout, the film keeps you guessing, despite being largely hinged on coincidence; and the twist does come as a surprise, but it is that awful, clichéd twist that everyone dreads. However, to De Palma's credit; he does almost make it good. To pull off a twist like the one in this film, the storyteller needs to be talented enough to not make the audience demand their money back when the movie finishes. When the twist first hit, my eyes were starting to role but credit has to be given to De Palma because even though the twist he's working with is silly, he manages to bring the film to a close which wraps it up, and does tie all the loose ends together. And although I'm still not sure if that was the right route for the film to take, it is well done.

Overall, Femme Fatale is an enjoyable thriller that is bound to keep most audience members on the edge of their seats throughout. It doesn't echo the brilliance of Dressed to Kill, Carrie, Sisters or most of De Palma's earlier oeuvre in the thriller genre; but it is the best film that the man has made since The Untouchables, and is therefore recommended.


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