It appears that I have fallen in love with French movies and their mysterious directors.
Just saw this 1990 movie by the famous French director, Luc Besson. His style is unlike that of the usual movie directors – he has a thriller concept and builds it around a main character in a rather fast-paced manner, and the movie sequences that fall out of his camera seem to be stylish with a nice merger into the overall concept. There are many directors who are famous for their directorial output and class of movies. But if you wish to witness style in action, go for Luc Besson, who has been called the Steven Spielberg of French cinema.
La Femme Nikita is about a fierce drug-addicted girl (very young) who was caught in a drugstore robbery and assault, after having shot at a policeman. She is uncontrollable and gets angry very fast, and is rather violent even in prison. The government decides that they would fake her death and recruit her to be a secret assassin for a super-secret government agency. She is trained rigorously and then sent out into the society. She has no feelings of a normal woman. The whole story is about her discovering her feelings of being a woman and falling in love with a commoner. At the same time, the government does not let her forget her past and her commitment to be an assassin. As you can see, the conflict which then arises is too much to handle.
The destruction of the soul of a young girl by drug addiction and violence is followed by a similar destruction of her soul by the secret agency which makes her commit crimes and assassinations. She cannot escape from her government handlers, and have to do their bidding via phone calls received at odd times. All these activities create suspicion in the mind of her new lover, who becomes rather worried for her safety. The nice thing is that this guy continues to lover her instead of chucking her out of his apartment. She could have secured a nice life with him – someone she dearly loves – but fate would have some other roadmap for her.
I felt bad that she had to go away from her new found love because she wanted to be away from it all – all the violence and destruction. She wants to have a normal life, having discovered her potential as a young woman of substance. Unfortunately, her secret agency handler is not in a position to let her go of her own accord. More assignments are coming her way because she was really talented – as a killer.
La Femme Nikita is a psychological thriller and it is not beyond the realm of reality. Anne Parillaud has delivered a great performance as Nikita (she is actually the wife of Luc Besson at that time), with emotions clogging her face when she had to obey the agency’s orders. Tcheky Karyo as Nikita’s government handler is amazing – he rarely shows any emotions in his stoic countenance, and carries out his task without a trace of smile or sorrow. Except in the last scene! Jean Hugues-Anglade as the super market billing counter guy comes in a simple role but establishes his credentials by his love and affection for Nikita, and for letting her go towards the end as she will not be safe in Paris. Amazing cast of actors chosen by Luc Besson. I will be remiss if I do not mention Jeanne Moreau who as an instructor at the secret agency transforms Nikita into a beautiful woman.
The psychological transformation of Nikita is captured wonderfully via Luc Besson’s skillful direction and editing. Her vulnerability is portrayed in an elegant manner despite her violent tendencies which she exhibits in ample measure towards her training instructors at the secret agency’s school. Anne Parillaud is simply an amazing actress who transforms herself into the character of Nikita in a seamless manner and delivers an outstanding performance as a drug addict, a violent killer, a lover, a woman of substance, and a romantic whose love life goes awry at the end.
I bet you would like to see this 28 years old movie if you have not seen it. Enjoy it and let me know if you like it.
10th June 2018