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
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
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.