attention is easily grabbed from the very opening of Femme
Fatale. The film begins with a TV Screen playing a scene from
Billy Wilder's classic 1944 noir Double Indemnity (one of
my all-time favorite films and easily one of the greatest
films ever made by a Hollywood studio) as the reflection of
a viewer engulfs the screen. From that very moment I knew
this was something special. You can see the woman's admiration
in her eyes watching Barbara Stanwyck's chilling performance
as Phyllis Dietrichson (the ultimate "femme fatale").
But this film didn't end with that simple scene. Not when
Brian De Palma directing. An enormous, and ambitious heist
scene follows (at the Cannes Film Festival no less!!) and
sets the stage for a sexy thrill ride of style, eroticism,
twists, unpredictability, and a whole lot of fun. De Palma
is never one to shy away from style, and that's what makes
this film so great (featuring his usual tracking and overhead
shots, split screens). Plot is ignored and if the viewer is
able to sit back and simply embrace the pleasures this film
has to offer, it's really exciting and intriguing. Like the
great Alfred Hitchcock, De Palma's main concern is playing
with the audiences emotions and expectations rather then he
is concerned with continuity. Why waste time explaining and
disrupting the pace, when you can trust the audience to use
their imagination as De Palma does here with his typically
visionary gaze. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos may not be a great actress,
but she remains a great choice for the role. Obviously she's
very sexy... and she uses that to portray a character that
is (to use her own words) "A bad girl. Real bad."
In many ways, Femme Fatale works like a collection of every
film De Palma has made, recalling many of his trademark themes
of techniques, while also being a personal expression or reflection
of his own obsessions and artistry. The viewer is always left
guessing and on the edge of their seat with anticipation.
Femme Fatale truly has an absorbing spell over its viewer.
Sexy, erotic, stylish, thrilling, exciting, romantic, and
above all the celebration of the pure joy and fun cinema can
offer! Using all forms of technique, and style, this is a
film of cinematic bliss and one film buffs can easily appreciate.
I think this may be De Palma's finest film (or at least in
the class of Blow Out, Carrie and Dressed To Kill).