“I have to say, you are one very convincing liar.”
Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, and Gene Tierney. Besides these women being prominent figures of classic film, what do they have in common? At one time in their career, these actresses played a femme fatal — my personal favorite being Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. Their beauty and seduction electrified the screen as each one would lure a man into a spider’s web of chaos. The new movie, Fatale, aims to capture the destruction that femme fatales leave in their wake, but ends up failing in execution.
Michael Ealy plays Derrick, a man who has achieved success by creating one of the biggest sports agencies in the world. Let it be known, he just signed NBA player, Lance Stephenson, to a million dollar energy drink deal, because it’s bragged about for at least 10 minutes. Derrick’s marriage is falling apart — he and his wife no longer have that spark. During his friend’s bachelor party in Las Vegas, Derrick, disillusioned by his failing marriage, begins to flirt with a woman named Valerie (Hilary Swank). She tells him that she has a “high stress” job, and often gets away to Vegas to break up the tension. One thing leads to another, and soon the pair wind up in Valerie’s hotel room. But Derrick’s fling with this woman, may not be the one-night stand he hoped for.
Fatal Attraction released its modern take on the femme fatale in 1987. Glenn Close’s performance as the insane mistress is incredibly frightening, while still playing into the trope of the scorned lover. In an effort to bring those femme fatales to the modern age once again, Fatale places the bulk of its story in Los Angeles. Hollywood Hills mansions over-looking the city’s skyline, and expensive cars, are there to round out the aesthetic. The serious tone sets the mood early, but within the first 15 minutes of Fatale, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of what was going on.
Swank hasn’t had a clear “good movie” in years. Much like every other actor in the industry, she finds herself in a hole, for which she’s unable to escape. We have all been impressed at one time by Swank’s performances throughout her career, but her role here as the “other woman” keeps her pigeon-holed in a series of flops. There is no happy medium for Swank’s performance as she’s either creepy dull, or screaming at the top of her lungs. There’s truly nothing mysterious about her. As for Ealy, he’s okay, but completely one dimensional. For a man that’s being pushed and pulled into one crazy situation after another, he never conveys the state of mind of a man being attacked at all sides.
Sure, Fatale is full of nonsense, to which I laugh at, but I do have a bit of a soft spot for movies like these. Movies that could easily find themselves on the Lifetime Movie Network. This film is not good in any way, but I give it the rating I do, because sometimes you need a dose of mindless entertainment. Fatale is no Fatal Attraction. It’s honestly more Beyoncé and Ali Larter in Obsessed, but you could tell that from the trailer.
Directed by: Deon Taylor
Starring: Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Coulter, Kali Hawk, and Danny Pino