Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
Watch On
  1. 100
    This is pure filmmaking, elegant and slippery. I haven't had as much fun second-guessing a movie since "Mulholland Drive."
  2. Here, the message is the moviemaking and the unparalleled joy you get from a film that can carry you off so completely, making you forget about everything save for the beautiful lies in front of you.
  3. 90
    I haven't admired a De Palma film since "Carrie," or even enjoyed one since "Scarface," so it must mean something that Femme Fatale gave me one of the best times at the movies I've had this year.
  4. 90
    In his dazzling and luxuriant new thriller Femme Fatale, De Palma turns trash into chic. It's a sexy, violent, glamorous, sinfully funny movie with a surface as hard and brilliant as diamonds.
  5. The story, to the extent that it is comprehensible, is pretentious and banal, closer to "Vanilla Sky" than "Notorious." But Mr. De Palma proves that, in the absence of insight or ideas, some amazing things are possible. It is possible, for instance, to be entranced by a movie without believing it for a second.
  6. If you decide at the outset that this needn't have any recognizable relationship to the world we live in, you might even find it an unadulterated delight.
  7. 80
    Much like David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," which it resembles in more ways than one, Femme Fatale makes a rich bouillabaisse out of De Palma's trademark themes and obsessions, stacking references to the heavens and operating with an internal logic that may take several viewings to fully unpack.
  8. A triumph of style over logic. Although this is not necessarily a good thing, it works spectacularly in this instance.
  9. It's hard to call it thrilling -- these aren't characters you actually care about and De Palma isn't as concerned with building tension as playing visual games -- but it sure sparkles.
  10. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    An extravagant suspense cocktail of wacky and lascivious ingredients that goes down fine.
  11. It's a pure (guilty) pleasure trip. That's pleasure, De Palma–style -- twisted, dirty, voyeuristic, a vast glissando of amorality.
  12. Sexy, witty, energetic and gorgeous, but it is as stripped of the human element (in some of its production design, as well) as a minimalist Calvin Klein store.
  13. Femme Fatale is glossy, glamorous cinema as collage. Maybe all the pieces of a truly good film noir are here, but the filmmaker has opted simply to toss them into the air and let them fall where they may.
  14. The film is De Palma's tribute to film noir, to Paris and to the cinema itself.
  15. 63
    Viewers who like their movies to adhere to some sort of reasonable logic, or to at least make sense, will not be pleased by Femme Fatale. For everyone else, it's playtime.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Fatale is, truthfully, a mess - an absurdly overwritten Eurotrash thriller that beggars an audience's suspension of disbelief. It's also great over-the-top moviemaking if you're in a slap-happy mood.
  17. Even if it's accepted simply as glitter-sprayed trash, sophomorically plotted and incompetently acted, Femme Fatale is a uniquely De Palma kind of effluence, an exercise in auteur self-parody.
  18. Sexy and passably entertaining, with a plot that's too clever by half.
  19. 50
    Starts with a flourish, staggers along for a bit and finally collapses -- even die-hard De Palma fans, will be left hungry.
  20. 50
    Elegant nonsense. For some years, it's been clear that De Palma's work has lost the jolting intellectual energy and wit of his "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill" days, and in Femme Fatale the Master is just diddling. [25 November 2002, p. 108]
  21. A passionate film buff's valentine to the two directors he loves most: Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma. The film that this worship has inspired is pretty amusing when the director apes Hitchcock, and pretty awful when he apes himself.
  22. May not always make sense, but it's crammed with flamboyant images and frisky cinematic pranks -- It's far from a great movie, but there's nothing like it on the current scene.
  23. 50
    A tricksy meta-thriller that, replete with the requisite homage to "Vertigo," sustains its dreamlike glide through a succession of cheesy coincidences and voluptuous cheap effects.
  24. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is just plain HOT in this film and other than that...we got ourselves a stinker.
  25. 40
    "Double Indemnity's" darkly poetic carnality is timeless. Trashy, throwaway fluff like De Palma's film can only look bad by comparison.
  26. 38
    De Palma fools around with split screens and slo-mo, but no amount of cinematic artifice can varnish over the fact that this is simply a bad film.
  27. 38
    Nothing short of a disaster -– easily one of the worst movies of the year.
  28. Mainly, Femme Fatale is really about De Palma's three favorite things: women, movies and women. And you can either share his guilty pleasures in all their living, breathing, power-edited, overextended glory, or you can get on with your life.
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It tries hard to be sexy, mysterious and dangerous, but ends up laughably inscrutable.
  30. If you look hard, you can make out a story in Femme Fatale, but it has nothing to do with the senseless pileup of jewel thievery, shutterbug voyeurism, and leggy sex bombs so shallow and bad they seem to have come out of a 1978 copy of Hustler magazine.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 24
  2. Negative: 6 out of 24
  1. Dec 29, 2012
    All style, no substance, but it's very cool and superbly shot. You can say the whole is less than the some of its parts, but nearly everyAll style, no substance, but it's very cool and superbly shot. You can say the whole is less than the some of its parts, but nearly every scene by itself is amazing. Full Review »
  2. FrankO.
    Jan 25, 2006
    Had great hopes for this movie but DePalma just couldn't pull it off...too long, a waste of Peter Coyote's skills as an actor.