A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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FEMME FATALE
2002 - Brian De Palma - France
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My 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).
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