There were many bad judgements when it came to developing Fatale, the first being that this erotic thriller was worthy of any sustained effort. I’m all for a guilty pleasure genre outing, and we’ve had enough distance from the heyday of erotic thrillers that a re-examination could be due, especially in light of the Me Too era. I was wondering if Fatale was going to present its chief crazy lady, played by two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, as the one who was right all along, and instead of endangering the nervous husband Derrick (Michael Ealy) she was really protecting him. Or maybe the movie was going to posit that Derrick’s perception of events was biased and built upon false assumptions and he was the real villain. Or maybe the Fatal Attraction-esque plot (Swank’s loft even resembles Glenn Close’s abode) would have more commentary on the fact that our resident crazy stalker was a police officer targeting a black man. I was holding out hope there would be something, anything to separate this movie from the glut of junk, but alas, it is merely a better assembled mobile of junk you’ve already seen far too many times in other questionable movies. There is nothing to surprise, to subvert your expectations. It’s depressingly predictable. Amazingly, the writer is David Loughery, who also wrote Obsessed, Lakeview Terrace, and The Intruder, which suggests he’s perhaps copying and pasting and re-arranging familiar story elements at this point. I didn’t care about the plight of Derrick because the movie wants me to see him as a “nice guy” but he’s really a dolt who doesn’t deserve our sympathy. Swank (The Hunt) is badly miscast as a seductress. She comes on so strong so fast that I thought the movie was aiming for self-parody. The fact that Swank is listed as a producer further confounds me. I’m sure she felt playing a sultry villain would be fun, but Swank’s performance needs to go bigger to leave the orbit of an otherwise forgettable and boring genre exercise that wastes everyone’s time. Fatale deserved to be filled with no names and occupy a Cinemax slot between the hours of three and four A.M.
Nate’s Grade: C-