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‘Femme fatale’ is a guilty pleasure

Dennis Piszkiewicz

In his latest film, “Femme Fatale,” writer-director Brian De Palma

serves up a confection of style, violence and sex; and for the most

part, this thriller is tasty and a guilty pleasure.


The action begins amid the glitter of the Cannes Film Festival.

Laure, the femme fatale of the film’s title, played by Rebecca

Romijn-Stamos, takes the lead in stealing $10 million worth of

diamond and gold jewelry worn by an actress attending that French


ego-fest. The heist goes badly, and Laure finds herself on the run,

chased by her partners in the caper.

Fast-forward seven years, and Laure reappears in France as the

reclusive wife of the ambassador from the United States. A paparazzo

played by Antonio Banderas takes on the job of photographing her, and

from then on the lives of both become entangled in knots of deceit

and betrayal.

Romijn-Stamos, as the quintessential bad girl, dominates every


scene she appears in. It remains to be seen if, as an actress, she

has the talent to play more complex roles or if she is as arresting a

screen presence with her clothes on. Banderas holds his own as the

endearing but sleazy and not very bright paparazzo.

The movie, though, really belongs to De Palma. As he has done many

times before, he unashamedly imitates the tension-building plot

twists and camera work of Alfred Hitchcock. The jewel robbery

sequence that begins the film and goes on for about 30 minutes is


mesmerizing. The cat-and-mouse play between Romijn-Stamos’ Laure and

Banderas’ paparazzo is an ever-changing and intriguing puzzle.

The final sequence, though, is something else. Alfred Hitchcock,

unlike his disciple De Palma, knew to stop when he was ahead.

* DENNIS PISZKIEWICZ is a Laguna Beach resident.

‘Man from Elysian Fields’ examines love

“The Man from Elysian Fields” challenges the sacred covenant of


Andy Garcia portrays a struggling writer; Julianna Margulies plays

his stalwart advocate and beloved spouse.

Aspirations and love, they are the currency of dreamers, but they

offer no practical wherewithal.

Enter Mick Jagger with the promise of financial stability for the

aforementioned sacrifice. Andy Garcia chooses to forfeit some aspects

of those vows to maintain some vestige of dignity.

As we venture deep into his impropriety, the audience is offered

an epiphany; no material success or exploit is comparable to true

love. Garcia is faced with the realization that marriage and truth

are inextricably bound, and to forsake any facet is to threaten the

entire union.

The Elysian Fields is the area for the virtuous in Hades. Garcia

condemns himself for desecrating love and abandoning his principles.

He resides in the Elysian Fields because of his ignominy. Only virtue

and an undying love can free him.

* EVAN MARMOL is a Laguna resident. He graduated from UC Irvine

with a degree in psychology and social behavior.