La Femme Nikita (Nikita) Reviews
La Femme Nikita is credited as a turning point for Luc Besson, a film which serves as a bridge between the two most dominant sections of his career: the cinema du look era and the action era. The amalgamation of these elements is not flawless, but it is clear that La Femme Nikita is a strong film. In fusing these two central elements, La Femme Nikita is both a slowly paced study of interesting characters and a competently staged action thriller. It's not always the most interesting in both regards as it maintains a slow pace and a limited assortment of action films which limits the exhilaration potential, but there is certainly much to admire about the production.
The highly stylized use of blue filters is a key function of the film's cinema du look style, and it is very prominent during the intro scenes. Throughout the rest of the film, the filtered lights are restrained significantly so that there is clever visual manipulation to boast about. The cinematography is also excellent because it captures everything with a truly atmosheric framing which makes clever use of angles to convey the status of the characters as well as pulling back to sensible distance during the action scenes. The colour scheme and genuine mood of the visual style is iconic, and it is all moderated very well so that the substance in the narrative does not play second fiddle to its style which proves that Luc Besson is developing as a filmmaker while also staying true to his roots. The entire film is a stylish affair which capitaizes on strong scenery with beautiful cinematography while retaining atmosphere. Even the training montage scene unfolds with an unconventional style, using a very gentle musical score playing against the backdrop to convey a gentle sense of development within the main character. Throughout the entire film the musical score captures an ideal mood without overdoing it, and that means that the film succeeds for the ears of viewers as much as the eyes. It proves most effective during the action scenes as the action in La Femme Nikita is rich in intensity and clever style, making a strong impact during what proves to be a brief period of screen time.
As a genuine dramatic piece, La Femme Nikita really surprises. The story is about a teenage girl turned into an assassin and therefore can easily charter into cheesy territory, but Luc Besson's tenacious passion for telling a truly legitimate story ensures that it ends up being the furthest thing from that risk. The story itself is slightly familiar, but the sucess is predicated on the way that the film characterizes its titular protagonist. La Femme Nikita contains so much character building that it comes up somewhat short on the action front at times, but as a study of the protagonist it is actually a very gentle and intelligent tale within a gritty context which gives a lot of implied depth to the film. The actual extent that the narrative explores this proves inconsistent as the mystery surrounding the protagonist leaves much of it to the implications, but this encourages the viewers to actively engage with the text to draw their own conclusions. Nikita's instincts are somewhat primal. She acts like a child in a shopping store and eats without any sense of proper etiquette, failing to grasp a sense of proper social behaviour much of the time. It says much about her, conveying the extent of her education in its limitations. And as the dramatic material intensifies, we see her at her most vulnerable as she attempts to cope with the harsh world of being an assassin on the surface and a little girl trapped on the inside. In a feat that he would later climax in his masterpiece Leon: The Professional (1994), Luc Besson succeeds at putting a lot of depth into what really should be a cheesy archetype. I mean the protagonist is teenage girl trained as an assassin, and yet the amount of depth and complicated character in the narrative is notoriously remarkable. That's the true driving force behind the experience that is La Femme Nikita, and a tribute to one of the greatest talents that Luc Besson is capable of bestowing onto the world of cinema. And with a legacy for bringing out strong female characters in his texts, Luc Besson is able to emphasize the best talents of Anne Parillaud.
Anne Parillaud captures the spirit of the titular character brilliantly in La Femme Nikita. She manages to stress every essential element of the character. As the title emphasizes, Nikita is La Femme, as in she is the woman of the film. She conveys an innocent feminine nature through her childish behaviour, her manner of dressing and her sex appeal. Although, the last of those elements is actually restrained so that the film can focus on ensuring she is more than a pretty face. In actuality, Anne Parillaud captures an extensive level of depth in the role which expresses the vulnerability of the character while oscillating between that and her professionalism. She is a very complicated and unpredictable character, worthy of bringing intense emotional drama to the experience as well as a really sympathetic nature. Her involvement with the character resonates on every level, bringing out a complicated level of emotional exploration and addings strong physical involvement to the mood of every scene. Luc Besson is able to bring some of the finest talents out of Anne Parillaud in La Femme Nikita, and she makes a truly compelling case as the protagonist of the thriller without ever failing to give it her all.
Jean Reno is also a welcome presence. Within a very brief period of screen time, Jean Reno plays the exact kind of character he would later expand upon in Leon: The Professional. With a very blunt talent for capturing the professionalism of the character, Jean Reno proves himself capable of bringing a skilful edge to the screen and maintaining it with a strong sense of sophisticated confidence the entire time, sharing intense interactions with Anne Parillaud that stem from their contrasting approaches to dealing with high-pressure situations. This creates a greater sense of depth into the titular character by showing what she is in comparison to what she is expected to be, adding greater characterization to the narrative.
Jean-Hugues Anglade also brings a friendly appeal to the film.
So La Femme Nikita may be more of a slow character study than a thrilling action film, but its powerful visual style and intense dedication to character make it one of Luc Besson's far more intelligent features.
A woman in a criminal gang is captured after killing a policeman during a botched robbery. She is sentenced to life in prison but while in prison she is approached by a government agent who intends to make her a secret agent. She reluctantly goes along with the idea...
Interesting, engaging espionage drama with some great action scenes. Plot is good and the story follows well. The set up is also well done, and quite funny at times.
Quite gritty too. Has all the traits of a good drama.
So good, Hollywood remade Nikita as Point of No Return / The Assassin in 1993, with Bridget Fonda in the lead role. It was also made into a Canadian TV series, La Femme Nikita. The series lasted from 1997 to 2001 and starred Peta Wilson in the lead role.
Sans oublier la bande son de Serra que j'aime particulierement
So what works in La Femme Nikita? Not much. They introduce a love interest for her that she seems to fall madly in love with for no reason at all, other than he was there. They manufacture a big climactic hit that she must perform, but they even undermine that by having everything fall apart but the organization still makes her bumble through it. The only moment I started to think Nikita could end up being an entertaining film was her first hit, but even that got a little over-the-top and ridiculous after a few minutes. I think they could have made a really interesting film if they had spent some time from her boyfriend's point of view. He had an interesting journey because apparently he started to suspect something strange was going on, he started investigating where she disappeared to, he discovered she didn't work at the place she said, and so on. But they avoided any decisions that might be interesting in this movie. I'd recommend you avoid La Femme Nikita, it is not a very good film and there are better movies with the whole "undercover assassin" plot line.