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You died Saturday at 5 p.m ... confirmed suicide after a tranquilizer overdose. You're buried in row 8, plot 30...
on 29 November 2011
Let me be clear at the very start. I love this film. However, you have to remember that Luc Besson has his strengths and weaknesses. In a review of The Fifth Element I likened that film to eating a big sloppy cheeseburger whilst riding the worst of Alton Towers' vomit comets - a sensorial feast, but one that you'll regret afterwards. Maybe Nikita isn't quite that extreme but it remains a typical Besson creation, big on style and low on substance.
By that, I mean that Nikita has no central message to convey, no moral justification for the events that it portrays and has little in the way of plot - indeed there is virtulally no discernible connection between the individual acts. What plot there is is simply a vehicle to convey a good looking, stylish and action film and THAT is what Besson does well - VERY well. In fact the film could be seen simply as a loosely connected series of McGuffins which allow Besson to portray a drop-dead gorgeous female lead in a variety of directorial set pieces, along with some gunplay, romance, and character studies. For instance, in the latter case, Besson introduces us to Jean Reno's "Cleaner" (a prototype of his later more developed character in Leon). Why? Who is the guy? What's his history? What is the point of the character in relation to Nikita herself or the events of the movie? Who cares? The Cleaner is simply a fantastic, well realised character piece. And that is what the film is about - style and look. Anne Parrilaud certainly brings huge style and look to the film. Admittedly she looks a million miles away from a drug addled, murderer-turmed-government-assassin, but what does that matter when she looks so hot?
The film certainly achieved its goals because it looked good enough to spawn a Hollywood remake (The Assassin, which many hated, but I reckoned was OK) and an abysmal TV series ("La Femme Nikita").
In the final analysis, you need to approach this one with care. Don't go expecting much in the way of cerebral stimulation or deep-cover acting, just enjoy it for what it is - two hours of eye-candy.
Bob: I work for the government and we've decided to give you another chance.
Nikita: What do I do?
Bob: Serve your country.
Nikita: What if I don't want to?
Bob: Row 8, Plot 30.