I recently just watched the dark drama film Simon Killer. If you haven’t heard of it, it follows Simon, a wayward young man drifting around Paris after a bad breakup. But just when you think the story will veer towards Simon moving on from his lost love, you’re thrown for a loop when he instead starts using a prostitute for her hospitality and convincing her to blackmail her johns for cash. It’s a smart film about sociopathy, which is still very rarely depicted correctly in film, but also held hints of the small, often overlooked sub-genre of homme fatale films.
If you look back here (http://wp.me/p4ShC6-2L), homme fatales are the sexual opposite of femme fatales. Men who exist in shrouds of sexuality, mystery, and more often than not, ill-intent. Sadly, you’ll be hard lucked to find anyone to discuss the cinematic trope with. Well, allow me to help change that, by delving into even more homme fatale flicks sure to make you never want to meet a handsome stranger again!
Luke Evans as Driver in No One Lives
Despite No One Lives being more accurately known as a horror film, it borrows heavily from homme fatale tropes. The leading man(iac) is more mysteriously intimidating than outright physically threatening (at first, anyway) and enters the story in a fog of illusion and secrecy, his truth only coming to light once the action ramps up and the blood begins to spill.
Dan Stevens as David Collins in The Guest
David Collins, the mysterious stranger from this new cult favorite, is one of the best examples of homme fatales in modern films. The action is quick to come in the film, almost as quick as the body count, but David is so smooth throughout, so damn sensual and manipulative, we almost forget that there is to be a reason for all the mayhem he’s bringing.
Matthew Goode as Charlie Stoker in Stoker
Matthew Goode’s Charlie is another modern homme fatale from the artsy thriller Stoker. And while I didn’t love the movie as a whole, I fully enjoyed the elements that made up Charlie, including his tortured but murderous and calculating mind. And, spoiler alert, the character is also a nice take on the “released mental patient” trope known well throughout the horror genre.
Gael Garcia Bernal as Elvis Valderez in The King
Another film I’d like to point out is the little known dark drama, The King (2005), which sets a homme fatale loose in a modern Texas gothic tale about the extremities of revenge. Gael Garcia Bernal is our sinister mister this time around, and when he doesn’t get the greeting he desires from his very estranged birth father, he takes up down a very dark road, with only his military wits and seductive skills to light the way.
Ewan McGregor as Joe Taylor in Young Adam
A final film worth another mention finds Ewan McGregor doning the mask of a homme fatale once again, albeit perhaps a reluctant, self-destructive version this time, not unlike Simon Killer. The film follows a young man named Joe, in both past and present storylines, who leaves a cluster of victims in his wake, both emotionally and physically.
As I mentioned, the homme fatale subgenre is small and not often discussed, but it has always been one of my favorites. So if you have any suggestions for films that touch upon these sensual men of mystery and murder, I’d love to know!
Until next time!