Peter Malone MSC 13 May 2021

The title evokes the familiar Fatal Attraction scenario – and it is played out in affluent Los Angeles, with many plot twists.

FATALE, US, 2020, Psychological drama. Starring Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter, Damaris Lewis, Tyrin Turner, Danny Pino. Directed by Deon Taylor. 104 minutes. Rated MA (Strong violence, sex scenes and coarse language).

The title quickly signifies what we are to expect. Will there be a femme fatale? And, with the overtones of Fatal Attraction, will there be a man entangled with an uncompromising woman?

For the first 20 minutes of this film, it goes exactly as expected. Derrick (Ealy) is something of a self-made businessman – agent for sports stars who works with his best friend as partner, affluent lifestyle with a glamorous wife and large mansion. But, there is tension at home. On a visit to Las Vegas, his partner encourages him to temptation, a one night stand – hello and goodbye! Well, of course, definitely not goodbye.

Because the first 20 minutes are so expected, we are sitting in our seats wondering when the twists will come and how effectively twisted they will be. They do – and they are!

In fact, in the second 20 minutes of the running time, there are a number of twists involving a reconciliation between Derrick and his wife, a home invasion andpolice investigation.

And Hilary Swank plays the chief detective, investigating the robbery, but discovering more and more about Derrick, his wife and his partner – and quite some twists.

Which means the third 20 minutes of the running time leads to twists within twists! There is a story of an up-and-coming political man who is accused of financial double dealings protesting innocence, rather arrogant – and then the discovery that he has been married to the detective, which does, of course, lead to a few more twists.

After an hour of running time and involvement in the anxiety of Derrick, the strong presence of Hilary Swank (always a strong and commanding presence on-screen) and further leads in the investigation, the next 20 minutes introduces the murders. Building up more and more tension, and a focus on Derrick as the most probable suspect.

There are only 20 minutes left in the running time so that has to be for the solutions and the resolutions. Once again, not exactly what we might have anticipated but some violent confrontations. Will and can Derrick survive?

So, a variation on the Fatal Attraction scenario, always an interesting and involving movie pastime.

Released 6 May
Peter Malone MSC is an associate Jesuit Media

Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy on the set of FATALE. Photo By: Scott Everett White