After a wild one-night stand, Derrick (Michael Ealy), a successful sports agent, watches his perfect life slowly disappear when he discovers that the sexy and mysterious woman he risked everything for, is a determined police detective (Hilary Swank) who entangles him in her latest investigation. As he tries desperately to put the pieces together, he falls deeper into her trap, risking his family, his career, and even his life. FATALE is a suspenseful and provocative psychological thriller and an unpredictable game of cat and mouse where one mistake can change your life.
Life tends to be like a game of Jenga. The difference between the traditional game of tumbling blocks and reality is the signs. Oftentimes there are signs, metaphorical and sometimes literal that let us know that we’re about to do something completely stupid and/or deadly. Therefore, unlike the rectangular blocks, in many situations, we know which ones not to pull. However, since humans tend to gamble with life: I won’t get caught, it won’t bite me, I won’t get addicted; which can ultimately end tragically and there are no do-overs. If you’re going to risk your life and or livelihood, make sure it’s for something meaningful and not for momentary pleasure.
“I thought we were playing a game.”
Deon Taylor’s Fatale is a sexy and dangerous psychological thriller full of manipulation, murder, betrayal, and desperation. Drawing eyes in early with the extravagant lifestyle its characters live and a soundtrack that bumps throughout, this film had great potential. It’s vibrant, shot well, full of twists and turns, and very grounded at times even while being over the top. It’s a film where it presents who is supposed to be the unhinged character, but no one in this fatal attraction is completely innocent. I can’t say that I fully relate to any of the characters nor do I find myself feeling completely bad for them, they all have something to hide. That’s where the film loses me, I couldn’t really root for anyone. The characters are selfish. While there might be remorse and somewhat noble reasons in their actions, it appears to actually just be guilt and selfishness. Also, some of the acting felt a bit flat. Besides that, Fatale is entertaining and suspenseful. It’s a great break from reality with its moody tone, glossy visuals, immediate tension, and interesting storyline.
If you let it stand alone without comparison, it’s could be one of your next guilty pleasure movies. It’s full of all the drama you can handle coupled with your good cop turned bad scenario. However, by either going extremely outrageous or being more cerebral, this film could’ve been great but ends in the decent category. In the end, I wasn’t mad at it. It’s rewatchability is medium. And remember what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there.
Plot & Pace
When Derrick, a married and successful sports manager goes to Vegas with his buddies, he questions why he is there. After being convinced by his most trusted friend and business partner to live it up for a night, Derrick decides to head to the bar. It’s not long before he meets a woman and after a few drinks and some dancing, they end up in her hotel room. Waking up from his one-night stand, Derrick now regrets his actions and is ready to get back to normalcy. Little does he know, his life is about to get more complicated than it’s ever been.
Characters & Chemistry
As good as their acting was, Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy felt like an odd pairing. However, when it came to the twisted, conniving, and violent aspect of their chemistry, it was great. But the sexual tension and playfulness they exhibited beforehand felt forced, unfortunately. Swank’s character, Detective Valerie Quinlan is a recovering addict. She is strong but also dangerously desperate. Her desperation isn’t to get a man but rather to get something back that was taken from her. Left with no other options, she resorts to using her cunning and police training to achieve her goal. Derrick (Michal Ealy) is a hardworking, prideful entrepreneur who makes the biggest mistake of his life.
Fatale is now available on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD. Stay safe and enjoy.
Director: Deon Taylor
Writer: David Loughery
Producers: Deon Taylor, Roxanne Avent, Hilary Swank, Carl A. Goldstein (co-producer)
Executive Producers: Marc A. Hammer, David Loughery, Philip Schneider, Robert F. Smith, Omar Joseph (co-executive producer)
Runtime: 1h 42m
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Blu-Ray technical aspect provided by Dillon Gonzales
Fatale comes to Blu-Ray in a detailed 1080p presentation in its 2.39:1 original aspect ratio that truly wows in high definition. The cinematography on display from Dante Spinotti elevates this movie by quite a margin. The clarity throughout is outstanding with subtle flourishes in the production design coming through perfectly. Color saturation is great with the color palette pushing slightly cooler with blues and purples to fit the mood of the narrative. Spinotti makes good use of evocative color filters that bring an exciting aesthetic to the film. Skin tones are natural to the lighting conditions, although a lot of exposed skin is covered in all manner of cuts and bruises as the story goes along. Black levels are pretty deep and do not fall victim to any noticeable digital noise or errors of the sort. Lionsgate Home Entertainment has delivered an outstanding high definition presentation here.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is extremely engaging, and it never fails to deliver something truly unbelievable. The soundscape on display here is very rich with a nuanced design from location to location. This film is not meant to be a full-throttle action film, but there are moments where certain kinetic sequences pack a bigger punch than one might expect. The finale that takes place in a freight elevator gives the low end quite a workout. The music in the club also hits really hard without being too overwhelming to the competing elements. Dialogue comes through crystal clear with none of the information feeling lost to the music in the film or the sound effects. All of the effects have a nice sense of direction within the mix with noises such as ocean waves really springing to life. The movie uses environmental sounds to great effect, and the track retains strong detail even in the more chaotic developments. The track is an unexpected powerhouse from start to finish.
Audio Commentary: Director/Producer Deon Taylor and Producer Roxanne Avent Taylor provide a pretty standard commentary track in which they discuss their love of Lionsgate, the origins of the story, anecdotes from the production, the importance of Los Angeles to the story, and more.
Making Fatale: A ten-minute featurette in which the cast and creative team offer some insights into the story, making a movie on a limited budget, putting the cast together and more. There are some fairly interesting insights into the creative process provided here.
Deon Taylor – The Right Direction: A six-minute featurette which delves deeper into the skills of Taylor behind the camera and his process for getting his vision on screen.
Cinematography – Find the Killer Look: A seven-minute featurette that hones in on the immense skill of director of photography Dante Spinotti and how he made the movie look like several million bucks.
Alternate Ending: A two-minute alternate ending is provided here that goes an entirely different way with concluding the story.