Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, Hollywood went through a phase where it loved to ‘sex-up’ it’s crime thrillers. The results were classic films like Basic Instinct and of course every teenage boy’s dream – Wild Things. Of course, though like all Hollywood phases for every sexy crime thriller that hit its mark, there were another twenty that fell from the wayside… and you can find most of those ones in the DVD section of The Reject Shop these days.
To me, director Deon Taylor’s Fatale feels like a throwback to those films. The film centres around the seductive Detective Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank) who ends up in bed with Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) when the two’s paths cross in the city of sin – Las Vegas.
What Derrick doesn’t tell Val is that he is married and she only finds that out about him when she is called out to the scene of an attempted murder that coincidentally happens at the house of Derrick and his wife Tracie (Damaris Lewis). The high-rolling Derrick is stunned that somebody has tried to murder him and he is beyond nervous of that fact that Val is now in contact with his wife.
The worst enemy of this film is its trailer. I’ll admit that I enjoyed Fatale as a film but having seen the trailer before I saw the film, I had some of my experience spoilt by the fact that I already knew too much of what was going to happen. Deon Taylor and screenwriter David Loughery have created a good crime thriller with all the right twists and turns to keep their audience guessing but sadly some of these surprises have already been revealed in the film’s trailer.
Still, as far as crime thrillers go, Fatale does work pretty well. There is enough suspense to make you wonder about nearly every character that is in Derrick’s life, while cinematographer Dante Spinotti captures some wonderful shots of the opulent house (and its views) that a majority of the film was shot in.
What I enjoyed about Fatale were the performances of its leads. Hilary Swank looks like she was having a hell of a fun time playing the dangerous vixen, while Michael Ealy takes a huge step forward in his career with a performance that more than shows that he is ready to take over the leading man status on a film.
Fatale is a guilty pleasure film. It is the kind of film that I found myself enjoying while I was watching but it is one of those films where people are going to give you a funny look when you admit to liking it. It has suspense, some great twists and turns but I would seriously consider avoiding the trailer before you head into the cinema to watch it. Otherwise, it won’t have the same impact.