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September 10, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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La Femme Nikita

Just where do they get those top-secret agents from, the ones who do assassinations and the like? This film takes the question (and strips aside all our comfortable notions of security services being recruited from the highest order of society), to show us the fate of a guttersnipe who has managed to brutally and cleverly kill some of the Paris Gendarmerie’s finest.

Enter Nikita, the female anti-Bond, child-woman who redefined action movies in the ‘90’s before Rrriot Grrl took off in the USA. Besson gives us a disturbing look at childhood without innocence, leading to adolescence with only a slow burn for revenge to keep this young woman motivated to live. Ah, but revenge against whom? Ultimately, it is the State – both to whom she owes her re-education, and to whom she owes her destruction, her assimilation into a killing machine that takes over her life, her chances, however brief, for happiness, love or relationships.

Besson also uses his stock actors, the marvellous Jean Reno and Tcheky Karyo, to give depth to the acting skills of Anne Parillaud, who went on to achieve great roles in her career, but was definitely very young and green in this role. She plays the androgenous street urchin well, portraying the awkwardness of the gamine in her newly acquired sophistication with an élan seldom seen outside the French cinema. For fans of action, there are some great fight scenes, and Nikita is a character of many talents, most of them lethal. If you have seen any of the American TV series produced recently, you really should back up and view the original Nikita; her 21st century sister is only a pale imitation. This film is available at the Central Library, but should also be able to be found at good video outlets such as Arovideo, or Amalgated Video, where stocks of classic foreign films are held.

LUC BESSON

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