Fatale ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fatale – R – 1 hr 42 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Wednesday February 17, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
6th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) feeling like his marriage is getting stale tries to get the spark back with his real estate wife (Damaris Lewis). She encourages him to go to Vegas for a bachelor party. Reluctantly, he agrees only to cheat on her with an enigmatic, sexy woman named Valerie Quinlan (Hilary Swank) he meets at a bar.

The next morning, Derrick heads home, trying again to get his marriage back on track. All seems well until a home invasion turns violent. Derrick gets into a violent struggle with a masked intruder. The investigator, turns out to be none other than Valerie Quinlan. And now the real tension begins.

Loved the setup for this film, which creates multiple flawed characters. From there the plot twists and turns and there is the early surprise and revelation that creates a ton of tension. Then it sort of goes off the rails a bit, soon stretching credibility. The middle act I didn’t care as much for, but then the third act pulls a lot of it back together and it ends wrapping it all up.

Acting is good, particularly Swank as an recovering alcoholic character that wants desperately to reunite with her son and appears on the edge of sanity. Her detective skills are strong, but her personal choices have compromised her abilities. It’s a deeper character and one that Swank pulls off well. She’s really good in this, despite a script which goes too far in some areas, making her character seem a little cartoonish at times.

The main character has many flaws but his actions also are suspect at times. It begins with his cheating, which was cleverly woven into the plot, but his reaction when he finds out what his wife has been up to is a bit puzzling and hypocritical. Sure, it’s plausible, but it makes his character much less sympathetic to viewers.

The final important character is Derrick’s business partner. We don’t get to know enough about him for his important involvement in the story. His character comes across more as a plot device than a logical progression to the story.

Sound effects were good, but the scoring was somewhat unremarkable. There are places more music could have been used effectively where instead there is just empty silence. The cinematography is average. Nothing elaborate or unusual camera-wise, which might have added a little more style to the pic and enhanced some of the middle act scenes which weren’t as thrilling as the opening scenes.

We both liked this one. It kept our interest and had us talking as we left the theater, see our reaction in the video below.

A gutty, gritty (at times) thriller that shows off Swank’s versatility, but is marred by a few eyeroll moments in the plot. The pacing lags a bit in the middle, but overall is decent. We both found this to be one of the better movies that can still be seen in some theaters and is widely available on VOD. You might want to give this a look when it shows up on streaming, but we’re not recommending otherwise.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)