Catwoman movie poster

Batman's feline foe flies solo (say that five times at top speed) -- off on an empowerment trip to explore the duality of Everywoman, but especially the suppressed "bad" side, as long as it's put in service to Truth and Justice if not necessarily the American Way. (A role this complex cries out for an Academy Award winner: Halle Berry answers the call.) Because of the redefinition of the character, we are obliged to back up to a time when she was not yet Catwoman, when she was only a mouseburger known as Patience Phillips, an ace ad designer for a major cosmetics firm, all set to launch a health-hazardous skin cream marketed as Beau-line (and pronounced, in a blend of French and ignorance, Bee-oh-leen). Almost an hour ticks by before she slips into the peekaboo dominatrix outfit with bullwhip accessory. First she must be drowned, artificially respirated by a magical Egyptian cat, and infused with computer-generated superpowers. (Berry could sue over the animated back spasms and gimpy gait that are supposed to pass for slinky.) The imported French director, the single-named Pitof, brings to the film some swooping cameras, bronzing light, oxidizing color, but nothing from within. Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy. 2004.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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