Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Movie of the Week – La Femme Nikita

This week’s movie is La Femme Nikita (1990).

The French crime drama is about Nikita, a troubled youth who is sentenced to life in prison. However, a secret government organization takes her to a facility where she is trained to be an assassin. The film is written and directed by Luc Besson, and represents his first big breakout hit (today, he is probably the biggest producer in French cinema, but sadly he does not direct great stuff like he use to) leading to a series of cool action dramas like Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (which is uneven, but has some great moments). Besson uses the same crew on most of his films, including composer Eric Serra (whose late 80s industrial rock score is an interesting listen today), cinematographer Thierry Arbogast and production designer Dan Weil. The film stars Anne Parillaud (who is good, but I actually like Bridget Fonda in Point of No Return, though the character is a lot less raw, much like the film which is not nearly as good). Marc Duret has a supporting role as well as frequent Besson collaborators Jean Reno and Tcheky Karyo. What sets this apart from many action movies of the 80s and 90s (and even today) is that most of the emphasis is on the character of Nikita – her psyche and her own personal drama of dealing with a double-life. The action is also well done, being a staple of Besson’s style. He is one of my favorite filmmakers of the 90s and this is the film that got me invested in him (and as I have said countless times before, I wish he still made these kinds of films). Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming and to Rent

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