Femme Fatale (2002)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Honestly, I don’t know what to think of this movie. As the makers of Femme Fatale suggest in the special DVD features, this may be a movie that needs to be seen more than once.

For me, this Brian de Palma film splits into two parts. The first half of the film is largely expository, though very stylish in how it does this.

Still, it’s primarily exposition and as such, a bit dull.

While the style is admirable, the lack of coherent interaction between characters results in a lack of emotional commitment to the story. We’re just not emotionally engaged.

It leaves us at too great a distance for too long and this leads to a gnawing sense of boredom. (Well, that’s how it was for me at least.)

The movie finally begins to engage us when the characters played by Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos start to interact. It begins with the scene when Banderas’ character knocks on her hotel room door pretending to have forgotten a disc.

With this scene, the movie suddenly seems to switch from a dispassionate, objective style of narrative to a more character driven story.

This second half is far more conventional in its style, but this is good from the standpoint of getting the audience involved with the story.

Here’s the problem, and why a second viewing may be in order: it’s only after having seen the second half of the film that the first half becomes interesting.

And this is a serious flaw.

It’s supposed to work the other way around.

Having said that, the film is certainly interesting cinematically. It has style to burn. But it’s not enough to hide the faults of the lengthy, somewhat tedious exposition that characterizes the first half of the film.

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