Brian de Palma is sooo past his use-by date. Sure, he can still orchestrate some good scenes (Snake Eyes had a great opening shot of about 20 minutes or so), and Mission: Impossible was fun if incomprehensible at times, but none of his recent work has been truly masterful.
Femme Fatale went straight to the rental shelves AFAIK, and it comes as little surprise. This film takes a nostalgic look at classic film noir, if the inclusion of Double Indemnity during the opening credits is anything to go by, but it’s simply too sparse to hold your attention for longer than fifteen minutes or so.
In a rather Showgirls-like move, de Palma cast a relative unknown in the lead role. Sure, she can look good, but she isn’t really leading lady material. According to the documentary on the DVD Antonio Banderas was convinced to do this film by his wife Melanie Griffith who had of course worked with de Palma before. He shouldn’t have listened to her.
The story is bare bones stuff. It’s predictable, boring, and even when he has a go at one of his trademark ‘setup scenes’ (for instance the train station scene in The Untouchables), it simply comes across as inept.
Too much of this film is glossy and unrealistic. He aims for a liquid and ever-so-slightly surreal look, but it doesn’t work. My suspension of disbelief was in dire need of a tune up after Femme Fatale. At best boring, at worst predictable.Rating: