If you've never seen Femme Fatale, this is probably not the review to use in deciding whether to see it or not. Usually I don't like to give away plot elements, much less give away a key point in the movie; however, to give an honest opinion on how I feel regarding this movie I have to reveal a critical point that the entire film rests on. You have been warned.
SPOILER: I loved and hated this movie. I loved the vast majority of this film, even the use of the split screen (which typically irritates me in De Palma films). We're moving along nicely in this slick film, great on a technical level and interesting on a plot/character level to the point that I'll forgive the unprecedented degree of chance that the story rests on . . . and then . . . and then . . . De Palma basically gives me the middle finger by climaxing with my single greatest pet peeve of all time in all cinema main character wakes up, and its only a dream. My jaw dropped and a stream of thoughts entered my head, utilizing language that would be inappropriate for an IMDb review.
Dare I say that *that* moment was more disappointing than Uwe Boll's House of the Dead? At least Boll's film never resembled anything good, and never got me to the edge of my seat, I never got into that lousy film. But De Palma, Femme Fatale rocked! I loved the opening scene, the whole first heist, which for some reason resonated with a Kubrickian vibe for me (probably due to the choice of music over the action.) Kudos for taking your sweet time. It was appreciated.
And never before had I loved and hated (in a good way) a character as much as I did Rebecca Romijn Stamos' character. She was so evil, but at the same time hilarious and fun with how she played Antonio Banderas', how she manipulated everyone around her. Let's not forget the dialogue between the two when they first meet - the hilariously awesome scene where Antonio has made it into her hotel room with the fake story of losing a 'floppy disk.' This film was so freakin' good . . . and then to be given an "It was all for nothing" dream ending? Leading up to the end of the film, I thought I might, just might, actually see a film where Laure gets away and continues to be a plotting evil little witch, or maybe she'd get what's coming to her and end on a downbeat, and I thought to myself, "I don't really like De Palma, but I have to admit if anyone has the artistic integrity and the balls to go against Hollywood formula and uninformed preview audiences . . . it is Brian De Palma." How is it gonna end? How are they gonna get out of this bind?! You're killing me with suspense De Palma . . . and . . . and . . . aw, crap.
In the De Palma's defense, he was aware that the move would split his audience down the middle, and he did give numerous clues that it was a dream. I can't stress enough that the bulk of the movie worked so wonderfully in grabbing my attention, keeping my attention, and keeping me on the edge of my seat. In that respect, it is a damn good movie. Also in the film's defense, the degree of which the film worked really set up my expectations, but its resolution just happens to be my ultimate narrative pet peeve . . . .
Ah well, as they say en français, "C'est la vie."
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