On improvising a burglary at a shady tycoon's home, Fred takes refuge in the hip and surreal universe of the Paris Metro and encounters its assorted denizens, the tycoon's henchmen and his disenchanted young wife.
An urgent life-or-death dilemma befalls Nikita--the feral street girl and violent drug addict--after killing a police officer at point blank. Hopeless, Nikita is given a new lease of life, when she reluctantly exchanges her doomed fate for a secret government program that promises to mould her into a cold-blooded assassin under the wing of her sadistic mentor, Bob. Now--with a new set of skills, a new identity, and lethally sophisticated looks--Nikita is the ultimate weapon and the perfect puppet for doing the government's dirty work; however, what happens if this trained killer chooses love over death?Written by
I fell in love with this film from the moment I first saw a brief clip of it on an entertainment program. At first I was drawn to the action elements (being young and somewhat immature in my dramatic tastes), but I was blown away by the romance and character interplay. I loved the composition of the scenes, the noirish lighting, and the quirky humor. This movie, along with Pedro Almodovar's films, really opened my eyes to European films, particularly those with a signature style.
The performances are great across the board. Anne Parillaud plays all facets of Nikita well, from her rebellious, drug-hazed beginning, to her growing confidence, and her near breakdown as her mission falls apart. Tcheky Karyo made a huge impression, mostly through his body language and his eyes. He says more with an expression than most actors do with dialogue. Jeanne Moraeu is a treasure, a truly beautiful woman in appearance and spirit. Jean-Hughues Anglade has the harder part, the "normal" guy who Nikita falls for. He is adept at comedy, but is tender in the love scenes. He carries himself well in his face-off with Bob. Finally, the actor who really stands out in memory, Jean Reno. Reno oozes charisma and talent, even in bad films. He steals the film the moment he enters.
Luc Besson is a tremendous stylist. His films are beautiful, even when the story is a bit obtuse. He is adept at using light to portray and enhance emotion and his compositions are stunning. His main fault is that he lets style overtake story, but he gets away with it because the style is always interesting. He is a fine writer, although more care seems to go into the scripts he directs than those he has written for others.
Finally, one can't discuss the films of Besson without discussing the music of Eric Serra. Serra creates an atmosphere that is much a part of the setting as the lighting or set decoration. His compositions convey mood and emotion, adding another layer to the story. His signature bass and percussion gets your heart pumping during action sequences, while the melodies bring a softness to intimate moments. He demonstrates the proper way to use synthesizers, to transform the music, rather than make up for lack of an orchestra (or talent). Serra's soundtracks were the first that I bought for instrumental music, rather than for pop songs used in the film.
This is a film that appeals to many audiences. There is plenty of action and intrigue for thrillseekers, unique character studies, quirky humor, and above all, romance. It has spawned many imitations (Point of No Return, Black Cat, Nikita TV series) but has never been equaled. If you are a fan of film noir, action/espionage, character drama, or romance, you should see this film; then you should own this film. You'll want to watch it again and again.
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