Femme Fatale (2002) is a English,French,Spanish movie. Brian De Palma has directed this movie. Rebecca Romijn,Antonio Banderas,Peter Coyote,Eriq Ebouaney are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2002. Femme Fatale (2002) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Mystery,Thriller movie in India and around the world.
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.
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Brian De Palma's 'Femme Fatale' is pure movie-making. In fact, it is done so well you almost forget it is all close to nonsense. But who cares, 'Femme Fatale' is an exercise in style drenched in twists and turns. Instead of cheating De Palma gives us a lot of little hints, easily missed the first time you see it. Explaining the story could ruin a lot and is probably useless anyway. I can tell the film opens with a heist, probably one of the most erotic ones out there. Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) is the one who goes away with a very expensive artifact betraying a whole lot of people. This event is what drives her the rest of the movie, but in what way I can not reveal. I can say that we move forward to seven years later and that Laure has changed her identity, more by mistake than on purpose. Another important thing I can tell you is that we meet a photographer named Nicolas Bardo (Antonio Banderas). He takes a picture of Laure while she is still Laure and he is the one who takes a picture of her seven years later, a photo that could spoil everything for her. I should stop talking about the story. You have to see it for yourself, collecting clues and try to make something out of it. I love a movie like this. 'Memento', 'Mulholland Dr.' and 'Donnie Darko' are other examples. Maybe you can figure them out, if that is the filmmakers intention, maybe you can not. But it is not so much the conclusion I enjoy, it is the ride that brings us there. De Palma does it in a terrific way with a lot of love for the movies.
You really have to admire Brian DePalma as a director. He's directed some of the finest thrillers in the last 30 years and even his misfires are interesting to watch like "Snake Eyes". I really enjoyed how well made this film is. If you don't like the story, thats your business. But this film is so finely detailed and shot that I put it in the same boat as "Mulholland Dr." and "Blackhawk Down". Interesting films that some viewers had mixed reactions to but the direction of these films was so expertly crafted that even the most ardent critics had to admit to the talent of the director. This film starts out at the Cannes Film Festival where a group of thieves are attempting to steal some diamonds off of a model by having Laure Ash (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) seduce her in a lesbian encounter in the ladies bathroom. Things go wrong and Laure takes off with the diamonds. Seven years later Laure is married to an American diplomat and is in Paris with her husband when a papparazzi named Nicolas (Antonio Banderas) takes a picture of her. She doesn't want to be photographed because the former members of her gang are still looking for her. What I have just mentioned is just scratching the surface. This is a psychological thriller that has so many twists and turns that the casual film viewer will probably be in over their head. But this is a film that gives many hints along the way as you watch it. You have to pay attention to this film and one key scene takes place when Laure and Nicolas are having coffee in a cafe. Laure is sitting next to the window. Outside, a poster is being put up for a film called "Deja Vu" and the reflection of Laure on the glass is centered in the middle of the poster. DePalma uses many overhead shots to allow the viewer to get full view of certain scenes. Some viewers and critics have said they were disappointed with the casting but I admire the job that Rebecca did for this film. Okay, she's not Jodie Foster as far as being an actress is concerned but Foster couldn't exude sexuality like this if her life depended on it either. I thought it was believable that her character could manipulate Nicholas the way she did. How could he not? She was a combination of sexuality and vulnerability inside a very smart and devious mind. And for a film called "Femme Fatale" you had better find an actress that is smart and utterly beautiful at the same time. I found her performance to be bold and brave. DePalma uses each shot to send signals relating to the story. It sounds like a very difficult shoot because each scene has so much meaning. He doesn't have cameras following characters for nothing. Each shot has a reason. The details to this filming are enormous and difficult. DePalma again shows us the attention to details of his complex artistry. If your one of those shallow film watchers that only views films from the incredible mediocrity of Hollywood than your probably going to be lost watching this film. For the viewers that remember and care about risk taking when making movies, than you can appreciate the effort made by DePalma. If you don't like it, thats okay. But you should appreciate his effort and nerve as a director.
Mr. De Palma is not a critics' darling, and as such his latest, Femme Fatale, has come in for his usual roasting. Is it deserved? Not if you love a film that embraces the visual splendour and techniques that make cinema a unique art form. Femme Fatale sees De Palma returning to his forte: the suspense thriller. It is a welcome return considering his recent fare have seen him straying to more mainstream efforts - Mission to Mars, Mission: Impossible - that were shells of his virtuoso films of the late 70s and early 80s. The film leads off with a stunning 20-minute Jewel heist sequence that takes place during the Cannes film festival of 2001. Completely bereft of dialogue, a la Topkapi, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos's character has the enviable task of lifting a diamond dress from Rie Rasmussun in a bathroom encounter. His first original screenplay in 10 years, De Palma writes a tightly-plotted tale that certainly does not lead the audience by the hand, and the resulting twists it provides will allow different perspectives on the film's events with repeat viewings. Antonio Banderas - usually lost without cause if not working with Robert Rodriguez - does what he needs to do with efficiency; Romijn-Stamos, the Femme Fatale of the title, provides the eye candy. The acting is not top drawer, but it does not need to be: we're here to see an auteur in his element: De Palma delivers. Cinema is more than a stage with a camera - De Palma uses his camera and cinema technique to brilliant effect. Huge swooping camera movements, split-screen, slow motion sequences, no dialogue and an enveloping orchestral score; De Palma's signature is prevalent. And that is good: a director should never be an autonomous entity, happy to turn out derivative drivel that get the masses in and out - directors for hire are too commonplace in Hollywood today - and that is something that De Palma could never be accused of. Femme Fatale is a great example of a director working in a genre he loves and understands, and given the freedom to create. Total cinema? Its smell is sure intoxicating. Welcome back, Mr. De Palma.
As I read the comments I can't help wonder how is it possible nobody thought this movie is an essay on cinema as well as a re-read of De Palma's own creations and obsessions. The questions on the board suggest that almost nobody pay attention even to the plot. 21 years before, "Blow Out", De Palma's most transparent reference to cinema craftsmanship and the relations between cinema and reality, and, what is most important, to cinema as knowledge (or even revelation), merged from an almost hopeless vision of the world: at the end of the film, Jack Terry, the character played by Travolta, had found the truth, but the price he paid for it is loneliness and madness maybe (just like Hackman at the end of Coppola's "The Conversation"); revelation is for him a sort of curse as he lost his second chance (one of the director's recurrent themes) as far as reality made the grade with its web of lies and corruption. "Femme fatale" shows that De Palma get older and wiser: even though reality is as corrupted and plenty of lies as two decades before, his faith on cinema as knowledge (what is cinema but a dream?) is stronger than then. He also has change his point of view about women. This turn, that started with "Carlito's Way" and even more on "Snake Eyes", is evident here, as he shows his own change of mind through a character that goes from his old kind of female character to the new one. (And those who wonder about the snake, read the Bible --Genesis.) At the very beginning of the movie, Laure's reflection on the tv screen reunites she and Barbara Stanwyck as the summa and the evolution of the femme fatale kind of character. That "DOUBLE indemnity" starts a game of doubles along the movie. Later, when the character of Lily appears, there's a choice to be made: Laure (of course, the reference is to Preminger's "Laura" though the film pays clearer homage to Hitchock's "Vertigo") has to decide to became Phyllis Dietrichson or to became Lily. The "dream strategy" is full of risk; in fact, when a writer/director uses it as a solution, the task is condemned to failure. But De Palma uses it masterfully, because dream is not a solution but a way: there are ten minutes of movie left after it to give that "dream strategy" a new sense and a justification that any film ever gave. As I wrote before, that dream is built as a movie watch by both audience and Laure. But the collage made by Banderas character is also a movie: a frame by frame (or scene by scene) construction of a reality that is out-of-time of that reality. De Palma, at the end of the film, tell us: that is what cinema is made of -different scenes shot under diverse lights in separate times, joined under one look and put together to make sense. We, as spectators, are the ones that can contemplate that work finished, and this final revelation, as the one at the end of "Citizen Kane", ask us to be able to join the pieces and reach knowledge cinema can give. There is a lot to write about this movie; these are only silly notes compared to the type of study "Femme Fatale" deserves. For those who are not interested on analysing a movie and just want to know if they will have fun watching it, I can only say that you can enjoyed the movie, with its twists and its suspense, even if you don't notice what I am talking about. "Femme Fatale" is an underrated masterpiece. Long live Brian De Palma (even if he has to live in France).
"Femme Fatale" is best understood as a game played by Brian De Palma and appreciated by knowing cineastes. It's not about story or characters, but about the construction and manipulation of art. Antonio Banderas plays Nicolas Bardo, a photographer who has turned his back on photographing celebrities. He now spends his time living in an apartment, making huge composite images by arranging tiny photographs. The Bardo character, in many ways, is Brian De Palma. At war with Hollywood storytelling (which is fuelled by celebrity) De Palma takes these multiple images and weaves them into a tapestry until a final image is made. The point is that the final image is not reality. It is the artists recreation and completely false. At the end of the film, Bardo completes his masterpiece by inserting a little white figure (of Laura, a name which itself alludes to Otto Preminger's classic) onto his wall. The figure doesn't belong, Bardo simply chooses to put it there. Thematically, "Femme Fatale" ends on the same note. Noir fatalism is thwarted by a completely arbitrary, totally ILLOGICAL and cosmically IMPOSSIBLE moment of editing whereby De Palma redeems his hero and kills off her opponents. Critics call this sequence implausible. But De Palma's point is that it doesn't have to be plausible. Bardo puts the white figure on his wall because he wants to. Similarly, De Palma ends the film as he does, because he wants to. He shows us Laura's fatalistic noir dream and then rescues her from it. He makes it clear that he is redeeming her and willing this positive ending into existence solely because he as artist, but more importantly, as noir God, has the power to do so. This flips the usual noir logic. If Kubrick's "The Killing" highlights the deterministic law of the universe (Clay's plan crumbling to pieces all because of a random poodle), De Palma's "Femme Fatale" highlights the power of the artist, able to do recreate a universe entirely devoid of cosmic law. This theme is also highlighted by the use of the name "Bardo", a Tibetan word meaning "intermediate state". A state between life and death. Over the course of the film, Bardo will be caught between life and death, as De Palma toys with killing him. Bardo's existence or artistic merit is down to an artist's mere whim. Everything else about De Palma is present in "Femme Fatale": the voyeur and his object, the representation inside the representation, the original and its fake copy, the doubled characters, key episodes built from multiple points of views, the elaborate camera work... Watch as De Palma's camera continuously misleads our eyes, giving the hidden predominance over the shown, until we are forced to separate in our minds the real from its representation and to connect the different pieces into a "sense". This technique comprises the film watching experience as a whole, and is what De Palma's films are essentially about, from Jack Terry's reconstruction of truth with the aid of montage in "Blow Out", to Santoro's investigations of a crime from partial testimonies in "Snake Eyes". This theme, the division between reality and image, has grown increasingly important for De Palma. The majority of his films are concerned about how we see and watch movies, the director obsessed with reminding us that information is not the same thing as knowledge. Consider "Snake Eyes", which opens with an unbroken tracking shot that essentially lays out the film's plot. The rest of the movie then becomes a demonstration of why everything we had seen in that sequence was a lie. Likewise, the opening sequence of "Mission: Impossible" showed us Tom Cruise's crew of agents being picked off one by one. We had already seen each of those murders, though, in nearly subliminal blips during the movie's credit sequence (information without knowledge). "Black Dahlia" and "Redacted" similarly deal with a search for truth amongst an image bank of lies. "Femme Fatale" begins with a long heist sequence. Throughout this sequence, allusions are made to "Snake Eyes" (the literal "serpent camera" and the object of the heist, a snake shaped piece of gold), De Palma effectively saying: "The camera is a snake and not to be trusted." Note too the film "Est-Ouest" showing as the heist goes on. Like "Femme Fatale", this is another stream-of-consciousness film with an unreliable narrator. And so the rest of "Femme Fatale" takes a "dream within a film" approach (foreshadowed in opening shot). Watch how De Palma sets this dream sequence up with careful details: the storm, the clock (the time 3:33 will appear on clocks throughout the dream), the water running, Laura sinking, and by having the actors from before her dream taking on different roles within it. These signifiers, and others, will emerge throughout the film, emphasising the surreal atmosphere of Laura's adventure. Everything becomes disconnected, dialogue makes no sense (at some points it's dubbed without even following the actors' lips!), time jumps back and forth etc etc. Indeed, during her dream (like "Mulholland Drive"), Laura herself will embody different female archetypes, all traceable in film history and particularly in De Palma's films. She's Kim Novak in "Vertigo" and also Melanie Griffith's prostitute of "Body Double" and so on and so on. The majority of De Palma's films have dream sequences. Even a "serious" film like "Casualties of War" ends with a character waking up on a train, realising that the whole film was a nightmare. Why does De Palma feel the need to insert this? My guess is that he doesn't want his films to be seen as "real". They exist in a wholly metaphysical space. 8.5/10 - As usual with a De Palma film, critics and audiences rejected "Femme Fatale".