Fatal Femmes

On the other hand, Sharon Stone remains fully dressed throughout Diabolique. And while this may come as a disappointment to these who lusted after her in Basic Instinct, the fact remains that Stone has become a much more interesting actress since she decided to keep her legs crossed and clothes on. Indeed, when it comes to striking the right mix of bruised sensuality and take-charge resolve, she's every bit the equal of Simone Signoret in the same role.

As the man who brings out the worst in both women, Chazz Palminteri sneers confidently and glowers menacingly, conveying thick-lipped sensuality and unshakable confidence as he dishes out each new humiliation. By the time this manipulative sadist gets his, the audience is more than ready to root for the women who hold his head beneath the water. In Diabolique, a genuinely feminist thriller, there's no question that sisterhood is powerful. The only problem is, it may not be sufficiently lethal. -- Joe Leydon

Directed by Jeremiah Chechik. With Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani and Chazz Palmainteri.

Rated R.
108 minutes.

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