From the outside, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) seems to have it all: a successful arts agency, a luxurious home, and a beautiful wife, Tracie (Damaris Lewis). But when he has an affair on a business trip to Las Vegas, everything is threatened. Upon his return 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 an affair with * gasps * Valerie in the case is called into question as she becomes more and more involved in Derrick’s family life. It turns out that she has a motive of her own …
In the opening narration, a thinly veiled gesture towards his job as an athlete representative, Derrick talks about being “the best playing player” (he was also a former college basketball star). But then he found himself in a new game, “playing for his life”. If it’s the cheesy basic dialogue that sets the precedent, we’re not ready to play – the rest of the movie, of course.
Michael Ealy does a good job of portraying Derrick’s gentle and complicit ways. He fights with his wife, who complains that he goes out all the time for his job, and now that his job is taking off, that’s 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 sees anyone else, he takes the opportunity to flirt a bit with the chic Swank at the bar, and decides not to. tell him he’s married.
One thing leads to another and the next morning an exquisite, spooky Swank – who’s as fantastic as ever, but can’t save this mess of a movie – put her lover’s phone in a safe (really her worst nightmare), which she claims she forgot the code for. “I’m not done with you, I need more,” she said, telling him to come “play” with her. Bleugh.
Erotic thrillers as a genre don’t seem to really work anymore. Their heyday in the ’80s to’ 90s is over, and while you get the odd slightly entertaining, like Katherine Heigl starrer ‘Unbreakable’, which totally upped the country character of the genre, generally they’re more akin to that, or last Netflix effort of the year ‘Fatal Affair’. As the title suggests, they feel washed out and outdated, far from delighting or entertaining their audiences.
Each round and round, if you can call them that, since “Fatale” plays out so obviously, becomes more and more trippy and silly as the feature progresses. The racing commentary it contains is as lazy and cheap as anything else. Even with the incredible headliner Hilary Swank, this movie is just plain bad.
“Fatale” is now streaming on Netflix …