Film Review – Fatale

Fatale (MA)

Directed by: Deon Taylor

Starring: Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

While her dramatic roles have been highly lauded to the point of being awarded the coveted gold statue, Hilary Swank’s attempts at thrillers have had the opposite effect.

Despite sinking her teeth into a role that she has not previously played – a sexy detective with a sinister side – this Fatal Attraction wannabe ranks alongside her other less than stellar thriller efforts The Reaping and The Resident.

Successful marketing executive Derrick Taylor (Michael Ealy) has built his business from the ground up and enjoys a life of luxury in a swish mansion perched on the Hollywood hills with his wife Tracey (Damaris Lewis).

With marital problems brewing, Derrick spends a weekend in Vegas with his mates and has a one night stand with Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank).

Back home, when Derrick and Tracie are the targets of a violent home invasion, guess who is the detective assigned to the case? Now that Val knows the truth about Derrick (his real name and marital status), she turns full bunny boiler and makes his life hell.

Comparisons to the granddaddy of psycho jilted lovers Fatal Attraction are inevitable; in fact this follows the formula so closely there could be a lawsuit.

What Fatale does, however, is give the villainous Val more screen time, backstory and motivation for her actions – though her actions eventually become so incredibly convoluted and reliant on coincidence that it loses any touch with reality (which was already strained).

It also raises the stakes for the likable but morally questionable Derrick, and yet in doing so, somehow fails to make this any more scary, unsettling or nerve-wracking for the viewer. Instead, it just makes this film feel like it stretches much further than its reasonable 102-minute running time.

It is great to see Swank be able to enjoy a level of diversity in her career, though perhaps she could benefit from being a little more careful about her choices.

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