Reviewed by: David Stanners

"Catwoman is a hybrid of superhero/romance, with a feminist touch."

Hollywood has gone into superhero overdrive. For every gem (Spider-man 2), there's always a bit of a duffer (Daredevil), and I suppose Catwoman falls somewhere in between.

She is definitely not a superhero in the conventional mould. Yeah, she's super fast, super sexy and a dab hand in the kicks and slaps department, but in true cat form, she's a law unto herself and does as she pleases - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

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Patience (Halle Berry) is a shy and sensitive artist, working reluctantly in the design department of a lucrative, soulless cosmetics company. Her boss, George Hedare (Lambert Wilson), is a slimy chauvinistic turd of a man, with highly unethical codes of practise. His estranged wife Laurel (Sharon Stone) is the face of Beau-line cosmetics and a hard nosed go-getter with a hidden agenda.

One night, as Patience is handing in some last minute designs to the lab, she discovers Beau-line's secret: George Hedare has been masterminding a revolutionary cosmetic cream that is both highly addictive and disfiguring to the surface of the skin. Realising she's in the wrong place at the wrong time, she hides in a tunnel, but is soon discovered by her assailants and flushed head first into the river. Lucky for her, Midnight, a sympathetic Egyptian cat with mysterious powers, is around to rescue her. According to Ophelia (Frances Conroy) - the cat wise owner - Patience has met her true fate and, reborn with a new dual identity, will find independence and shelter from the emptiness of her daily routine.

With her new life, Patience has the courage to flirt with Tom (Benjamin Bratt), the man of her dreams, as well as dishing George a verbal clout, which earns applause from her colleagues, but a premature exit out the company's door. From here on, we see Halle strutting her stuff in full leathers, all set to bring down the evil Hedare Corporation.

It's not all catty cuddles though. Besides juggling a tenuous relationship with her new feline form, she also runs into trouble with Laurel. Furious for being dumped as the face of the company for a younger prettier image, she begins to jealously avenge her husband's decision. "Once you hit 40, you're thrown onto the scrap heap, " she complains. Parallels with Stone's Hollywood career, perhaps?

Catwoman is a hybrid of superhero/romance, with a feminist touch. No longer does our protagonist work solely against the forces of evil. Instead, issues concerning her own independence, motivate her actions, rather than the well being of the nation.

Berry is hot stuff, though; of that there is no doubt. If you can pocket $10million for looking good and rely on a stunt double and CGI expert to do the rest, then you must be in with the Hollywood big boys. Still, take her out of the equation and you've got very little left. Stone plays the ice queen bitch nicely and Alex Borstein throws in a little comedy relief, but without the leather and whips, we're left with brittle bare bones.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2004
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A weak-willed designer is murdered and reborn as Catwoman.
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David Haviland *

Director: Pitof

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, John Rogers, based on the comic book by Bob Kane

Starring: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, Michael Massee

Year: 2004

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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