From the outside, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) appears to have it all – a successful talent agency, a luxurious home, and a beautiful wife, Tracie (Damaris Lewis). But when he has an affair during a business trip to Las Vegas, everything comes under threat. Upon returning home, Derrick’s home is broken into, and the detective assigned to the case is Valerie Quinlan (Hilary Swank), who is none other than the woman he had the affair with *gasps* Valerie’s professionalism in the case comes into question as she becomes increasingly involved in Derrick’s family life. It turns out she has a motive all her own…
In the opening narration, a thinly veiled gesturing towards his job representing athletes, Derrick talks about being “the best game player” (he was also formerly a college basketball star). But then he found himself in a new game, “playing for his life.” If this is the corny, basic dialogue setting the precedent, we’re not up for playing – the rest of the movie, that is.
Michael Ealy does a good job at depicting Derrick’s smooth talking, conniving ways. He fights with his wife, who complains that he goes out all the time for his job, and now that her work is taking off, this is when he wants to spend time with her. She tells him to go to Vegas with his buddies, so he does, and being suspicious that his wife is seeing someone else, he takes the opportunity for a bit of flirting with swanky Swank at the bar, and decides to not tell her he’s married.
One thing leads to another and the next morning, an exquisite and creepy Swank – who is as fantastic as always, but can’t save this mess of a movie – has put her lover’s phone in a safe (truly one’s worst nightmare), which she claims she forgot the code for. “I’m not done with you, I need more”, she says, telling him to come “play” with her. Bleugh.
Erotic thrillers as a genre just don’t seem to really be working anymore. Their heyday in the ‘80s to ‘90s is over, and while you get the odd mildly entertaining one, like Katherine Heigl starrer ‘Unbreakable’, which totally upped the campiness of the genre, typically they’re more akin to this, or last year’s Netflix effort ‘Fatal Affair’. As the title indicates, they feel washed out and outdated, falling short of thrilling or entertaining its audience.
Every twist and turn, if you can call them that, since ‘Fatale’ plays out so obviously, gets trippier and sillier as the feature progresses. The race commentary in it feels as lazy and cheap as everything else. Even with the incredible Hilary Swank headlining, this movie is just bad.
‘Fatale’ is streaming on Netflix now…