Author: Brian DePalma
Director: Brian DePalma
The problem with this film is it tries too hard. It tries too hard to be clever, too hard to be erotic, too hard to be complicated. It’s not terrible or unwatchable, it’s just not remarkable. There are also a number of elementary errors that are downright silly. We begin with a complicated jewelry-robbery during which a woman double-crosses her accomplices and runs away with the diamonds, leaving them to take the fall. Then we have an absurd coincidence when she just happens to find a woman who looks exactly like her who commits suicide and she takes over that woman’s identity. Seven years later, she’s back in Paris, now married to the U.S. Ambassador to France, and a photograph of her leads her former partners to discover her. So then she blackmails the photographer by framing him for her kidnapping in order to scam $10 million from her new husband. Then, suddenly, right as things start getting dark, the film takes a sudden turn into philosophy by examining the question of “What if?” and takes down an alternate path of events. While interesting, this is not the kind of film where you expect that. It’s actually one of the better things about the film, but it comes across as an awkward surprise. There’s not enough foreshadowing to make it feel natural. Then there are the strangely obvious mistakes. For instance, the diamonds are worth $10 million and we later hear the woman’s share is $4 million (naturally you don’t get full price on the black market). Yet when the bad guys catch up with the woman they ignore the $10 million in cash her husband brought for the ransom and go on about the diamonds! (Even dumber, they throw her off a bridge before she can tell them anything.) Another dumb mistake: when the bad guy gets out of prison he’s wearing the same blood-soaked tuxedo he wore during the robbery when he got shot. Come on, hospitals always cut clothes off, they don’t preserve them. Even if that wasn’t the case, the cops surely would have washed them. And even if they didn’t, the blood stains wouldn’t be bright red after seven years waiting for the guy to get out of jail! There are plenty more mistakes like that, but those are a sample. They don’t ruin the movie, but with a director of DePalma’s reputation, you’d expect more. Still, the film is stylish, a contemporary film noir, and ultimately plot and characters are sacrificed for that goal. For some that might be okay, since style is fun (this is certainly fun), but those looking for more depth won’t like this film. Finally, I guess I must say something about Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. Her acting was paned, but she was surprisingly good at times, just inconsistent. She was also strangely non-charismatic and though beautiful, there was something artless about her. With this kind of film, though, it’s tough to tell if it’s her or the script.