Review – La Femme Nikita (France 1990)

Did someone ask for gritty and bleak?

I have been loving SBS this month – to celebrate 30 years on the air, they have been playing everyone’s favourite world movies. Over the weekend, while I was engaging in Adventures in Puppy Sitting, I stayed up late to watch the original incarnation of Nikita. It has been years since I saw it and really only remembered a couple of scenes, so given how much I am loving the CW’s redux of Nikita, I had to watch.

Nikita is a junkie, punk bad girl who murders a policeman in cold blood and is convicted of his and the deaths of victims in the movie’s shoot out – which opens the film. Finding herself in a hidden world of training and development at the DGSE (the French CIA), Nikita transfers herself from riding the line of being cancelled (to use the CW’s Nikita’s terms) to being a glowing success – a hot hit woman.

Upon her completion of her training, she starts what she fools herself into thinking is a normal life till the people that made her come calling.The second half of the movie traces her trying to balance her love and pretend life with his boyfriend and the demands made by her true employers.

Pluses:
The disparity between worlds.
Viktor.
Lies and the lies to hide the lies.
People looked real, unlike the US versions.
Believable characters trying to live in a world out of their control.
Brilliant set pieces – that restaurant scene is just glorious.
The dark humour littered throughout the movie.

Minuses:
Some bits were a tad over the top, but I think it was to show the differences.
By some bits, I mean the overacting of Anne Parillaud.
The unlikely relationships she develops.

Even with the effects of time (learning what a mouse is hehhe) it is still a dark adventure into an under world beyond the law. It was certainly ahead of its time and spawned a successful ongoing franchise. All that being said, it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. I loved how gritty it was, but its over the top depiction of wild Nikita just saw me lack empathy for the protagonist.

#threeandahalfpandas

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About howmanypandas

If you can do it I review it! View all posts by howmanypandas

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