How to Watch 'Fatale' Online: Stream the Film for Free on HBO Max. HBO Max is the only place to watch Fatale online

After a one-night stand, a successful married man finds himself entangled in a cunning police detective's latest investigation.

Director: Deon Taylor

Writer: David Loughery

Stars: Hilary Swank, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter 

Like so many other movies during this weird year, “Fatale” has been kicking around the calendar because of COVID-19 movie theater closures. It was originally supposed to come out in mid-June and has had a few other scheduled dates before finally arriving “only in theaters!” this Friday, if that’s the kind of calculated risk you’re prepared to take.

But director Deon Taylor’s film feels much, much older than that with its cheap thrills and archaic approach to women characters. They’re all crazy, or adulterous, or murderous, or all of the above. That retrograde attitude might at least be vaguely tolerable if “Fatale” leaned harder into its inherent cheesiness. And yet, this modern-day take on the “Fatal Attraction” premise never fulfills its promise as a lurid, guilty pleasure. Despite its slick aesthetics, with gorgeous stars in luxurious clothes driving flashy cars and enjoying multimillion-dollar views from the beachfront to the hilltop, “Fatale” is weirdly dull. It lacks the verbal punch of a pulpy film noir. Its pacing is too slack to serve as a gripping romantic thriller. It even rings hollow as a cautionary tale, because everyone is scheming and duplicitous and so no one has been truly wronged.

Its most grievous sin of all, however, is the miscasting of Hilary Swank. As the jilted woman who drives the film’s busy and bloody plot, Swank is strangely subdued. With her cool, steely presence opposite a shmoozy and ambitious Michael Ealy, her performance never quite jells. Swank delivers her threats with a degree of menace that’s so understated, it’s borderline monotone. Sure, she eventually gets the opportunity to let loose with the fearless physicality that’s the two-time Oscar-winner’s trademark. But it makes you wonder what she’s doing here, and what kind of direction she received once she arrived. 

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