Femme Fatale, skin is not enough

    How much skin can Rebecca Romijn-Stamos possibly show in a film? A contemporary film noir, “”Femme Fatale,”” had the potential to be a fascinating thriller, but is thwarted by Romijn-Stamos’ bad acting, excessive nudity and a weak plot.

    The film explores revenge and reinvention, flavored with an undercurrent of moral ambiguity and titillating corruption. As a film about an alluring seductress suddenly exposed to the world — and her enemies — by a voyeuristic photographer who becomes ensnared in her surreal quest for revenge, this project draws stars Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas together in writer-director Brian De Palma’s licentiously complex narrative.

    “”Femme Fatale”” is shot almost entirely in Paris and its surrounding areas, which required American-born De Palma to investigate the hidden landscapes within the city to uncover the most interesting locations to film. Knowing that most Americans think of Gene Kelly and berets when they think of Paris, De Palma tries hard and succeeds in showing a more cosmopolitan and international side of the famed city, giving the film true Parisian flavor.

    This film noir, typified by its dark tone and gritty characterization, matches De Palma’s thematic objectives of creating a look and feel that are as intrinsically important to “” Femme Fatale”” as the action itself. The movie uses too much camera movement to be termed a classic film noir, but it does incorporate many noirish qualities in a contemporary way. Director of Photography Thierry Arbogast fuses De Palma’s progressive visual style with the deliberate static approach of film noir. His use of recurring images and dabbing in different levels of reality can also be found in the film, along with a stylized frontal lighting that embellishes the actors and highlights every emotion.

    Although the film is an aesthetic masterpiece, it is ruined by a frail plot and Romijn-Stamos. Her modeling past never leaves her on the silver screen; she manages to do the catwalk in almost every scene that requires walking. It is nearly impossible to escape her exposed skin; at a particular low point, she performs a striptease that is entirely unnecessary in the film. The actual plot seems unclear, and although Banderas plays his role beautifully, he cannot save this weak film. While the cinematography in “”Femme Fatale”” is inspiring, it is not worth watching for any other qualities. Bottom line: barely worth a $3.95 rental.

    Femme Fetale

    ****

    Starring Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas

    In theaters now

    Rated R

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