Margot Robbie stars as an audacious leading lady Annie in Terminal, a character who leads a double life as a waitress and a hired contract killer. She slips perfectly into the femme fatale role; an eccentric, bold seductress whose beauty and charm compliments the stylistic neo-noir aesthetic along with the dangers of her sexual allure. Many classic femme fatales hold a troubled past, and Margot is no exception, holding down three illicit jobs and seemingly incapable of feelings of love and intimacy; instead she seeks motifs for revenge from her alienation and paranoia. She uses her situation as a catalyst for betrayal and the sinister and shadowy portrayal accentuated by Robbie’s twisted, dark wit, helps shade the lines between good and bad in this film…revenge never looked so good.
To celebrate the release of Terminal, on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital on 6th August, we highlight 5 more of the most iconic femme fatales in film.
5. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, 1992)
Basic Instinct is an intensely visceral, overheated, charged up erotic thriller. Enough buzz words? In the 90s when this film was released, it came across as about as politically correct as a Peter Mandelson riding the last white rhino into the Grand National. This film established Sharon Stone as THE femme fatale character of the late twentieth century, as she starred as a bisexual, spellbinding novelist who gets caught up in a murder investigation that she designed. As she works on her latest novella, about the cop who is now investigating her, things turn up another notch as the investigators lust after her. A trio of feminine characters here creates a film which is a shamelessly stylish, guilty pleasure, brought to life by the highly seductive, breathtaking, whilst at times even vulnerable, Stone.
4. Frances McDormand (Fargo, 1996)
McDormand plays chief police officer Marge Gunderson, who, while at seven months pregnant, facing a kidnapping and murder investigation, still manages to be persistent, pragmatic and practical. Impressive as far as multi-tasking goes, as most people can’t even seem to hold a conversation whilst eating their dinner these days. She embodies a folk hero of sorts, filled with dark humour and a twisted wit that encapsulates the flawless noir heroin. She manages to stand out as a glamourous protagonist in a film that aims to paint a drab, comic coating over midwestern life as it accentuates the darkly funny and innocently disturbing Hollywood centric view of middle America. McDormand manages to balance the films fundamentally shady, gruesome sub plots with her innocent, quirky character. In the face of mortal danger, as she shuffles through the snow in her flappy cap, she actually manages to comes across as endearing and adorable; it is this clever and unique approach that the Coen brothers take with characters like Marge, giving them a charm and wholeness that gives you the feeling that the film is truly grounded in reality.
3. Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive, 2001)
Watts plays a budding actress, Betty, in this amnesiac, hypnotic, hyper-noir. She befriends Rita, who has recently been involved in a car crash and is in a spell-blinded state and who cannot even remember her own name.. Anything but straightforward, this film ventures well beyond the realm of truth and reality; the mysterious web of converging storylines, together with an erotically fulfilling narrative, will leave you with more questions than there are answers. What is straightforward though is the prowess that Watts displays in this film as her charm washes over you as she sensuously floats through the disconcerting dreamscape of David Lynch’s thematic subconscious. Draped in a backlight of purple neon, there are multiple encounters between Rita and Betty that leave little open for the imagination.
2. Noomi Rapace (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2009)
Rapace stars as super intelligent, unsympathetic heroine Lisbeth Salander with a talent for cyber espionage. Off the bat, not your usual kettle of fish. She fits like a glove into the role which derives from the original book. Ideal for the role; a dark, disturbed, unusual, and fiercely unique character who forms a perturbed alliance with a journalist to track down a wealthy tycoon’s niece. With a plot that ends up with them chasing after a violent family history, this is an influential thriller that has sexually violent, misogynistic and religious themes that tackle widespread issues of rape and forced abortion, with Salander in the midst of this. The original book does well to represent the violent abuse of women in Sweden and demonstrate societies distorted viewpoint on it. Both the book and the film alike seek to encourage empowerment for women and it is hard to ignore the elephant in the room in many scenes; the gigantic dragon tattooed across Salander’s back, an ancient Chinese design representing ancient feminine wisdom and spirit. The original title in Swedish translates as ‘Men who hate women’, this film, directed by Niels Arden Opley, certainly has a lot to say.
1. Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, 2017)
Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a secret agent for the secret intelligence service that is sent to Germany to solve the murder of a fellow undercover agent. Along the way she must battle with the forces of evil and betrayal to recover a missing list of British double agents. Theron contests the film’s sinister, stylistic visuals, while maintaining an impressive display of savagery and elegance. Simply put, Theron is on fire throughout this nonstop action flick, and the only time she takes a break is to sink straight vodka and coolly toke on a cigarette. Theron committedly kicks ass with the smoothness of James bond but without the misogynistic overtones. Similarities can be drawn to John Wick on account of Theron’s physical lethalness, a trait that director David Leitch brought over from John Wick’s famous stunts. Theron is supported by James Mcavoy, who plays an unorthodox role as station Chief Percival. Regardless of the talent alongside her, she seems committed throughout to throw a shadow over everyone as she commands the screen during the myriad of intense fight scenes where she exudes fury.
Terminal comes to DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download on August 6, 2018.
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