TL;DR – A film with a solid concept that hits hard early and then gives diminishing returns after that.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Fatale Review –
When writing a movie, I would take it that one of the more difficult parts of any screenplay is to know when that wow moment will be and how that moment affects the whole film. I think we have all watched that movie where that wow moment has fallen flat, or when it came at the wrong part of the film. Well, today, we have an interesting case of a movie making a big statement with its wow moment that had me on the edge of my seat and then did very little with it from that point onwards.
So to set the scene, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) is a basketball agent who has worked to build his company from a small operation to one of the big players in the industry. But while his professional life is reaching for the heights, his marriage with Tracie (Damaris Lewis) is on autopilot. All of this is made worse when Derrick, enabled by his business partner Rafe Grimes (Mike Colter), has an affair with a woman in Las Vegas. This was a turning point for Derrick, but he has to look in horror when the women Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank) turns out to be Detective Val Quinlan.
Look, while I will be a bit negative about this film, it is not without its merits. I think that the actors, Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy, are giving some interesting performances. I am not sure what they were given was good, but they are playing the heck out of it. Also, the whole first act was this slow-moving crash that you can’t look away from. It is full of warning signs and red flags that everyone is ignoring to their own peril. The whole home invasion scene had me on the edge of my seat, and that is even before the big reveal. It captivates you and sucks you into this world.
Unfortunately, that is about when the film plateaus and then takes its slow dive into becoming a frustrating mess. The simple fact is that nothing that follows has the same intensity as that first meeting, and while they try to recapture that time and time again, it is always with diminishing returns, even when they try to use fake-out jumps cares. Indeed the more the film goes on, the more you feel that the music is the only thing doing all the heavy lifting, and at certain points in the movie, it is trying so hard to carry the narrative that it pulls its back out. It is at this point where you start to notice these awkward aspects of the production. The script for many of the supporting characters feels out of place, leading to some moments where it becomes unintentionally uncomfortable. The lighting of many of the actors leaves half or more of their faces in shadow whenever the film is not set outside at midday. This is then sharply contrasted with those characters that they do light well, meaning this was a moment of bad design and not an intentional storytelling device.
In the end, do we recommend Fatale? Unfortunately not. While there are some intense moments at the start, and these moments stop the film from being a complete disaster. What follows is a mess of storytelling and failed emotion. If you liked Fatale, I would recommend to you Emma.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Fatale
Directed by – Deon Taylor
Written by – David Loughery
Music by – Geoff Zanelli
Cinematography by – Dante Spinotti
Edited by – Eric L. Beason
Production/Distribution Companies – Summit Entertainment, Hidden Empire Film Group & Universal Pictures
Starring – Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter, Geoffrey Owens, Damaris Lewis, Danny Pino, David Hoflin, Sam Daly, Tyrin Turner, Kali Hawk & Denise Dowse
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: R; Germany: na; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: na; United States: R