Movie review: 'Fatale' is this generation's 'Fatal Attraction'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Jul 16 2021 06:10 AM

Movie review: 'Fatale' is this generation's 'Fatal Attraction' 1
Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy in "Fatale'

Former basketball superstar Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) ran a successful sports management firm in Los Angeles with his best friend Rafe Grimes (Mike Colter). However, despite the financial success of his business, his marriage to real estate agent wife Tracie (Damaris Lewis) was beginning to feel like it was on the rocks. 

One day while in Las Vegas for a business trip, Derrick hooked up with a random woman Val (Hilary Swank) in a nightclub and had a one night stand with her. The next morning, Derrick never would have imagined that this carefree act of sexual indiscretion was about to lead to a crazy series of events that would turn his charmed life upside-down. 

After her two Oscars for Best Actress for "Boys Don't Cry" (1999) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), Hilary Swank did not exactly get any more film roles that courted critical acclaim since then. Frankly, it would not be too easy to name another movie she had starred in aside from these two. Here, Swank did what she could in the title role of the femme fatale even if it did not exactly fit her, and despite the screwed-up things her character had to do. 

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Michael Ealy had been in films for 20 years already, but this was the first time I had seen him in a lead role. His bright blue eyes, which were called "Steph Curry eyes" in the film, prominently stood out. He had the challenge of playing the unfortunate Derrick, a millionaire in a tight situation because of his terrible decisions, but sadly, Ealy could not deliver this character convincingly. 

By the scene when Derrick began making his move on the seductive stranger, strong vibes of the '80s erotic psychological thriller "Fatal Attraction" (Adrian Lyne, 1987) will immediately come to mind for most Gen X members of the audience. Aside from a nifty surprise about Val's job and a side plot involving her estranged family, the formula of the former film was just about followed to a T, right up to that famous fake-out shock ending. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."