La Femme Nikita: Remastered Version
There are certain stories used in film that find themselves being fodder to remakes. One such story is that of La Femme Nikta. After the original French version there was a remake in America called Point of No Return. Then there was the USA Cable networks show using the original title. The film follows a young girl that is a drug addict involved with a punk gang. They break into a drug store and kill the owners. The girl is sentenced to the death penalty. Much to her surprise, after her execution, she awakens in a stark white cell. It turns out she has been recruited by a top secret government hit squad. At first Nikita (Anne Parillaud) rebels against her control agent (Tcheky Karyo), as she is taught the finer points of murder, mayhem and deception. After several years she is set up with an apartment and gets to live a fairly normal life between assignments. During this time she falls in love with a grocery check out clerk (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and plans to marry. Soon she must face the consequences of her dual identity and balance love and death.
Anne Parillaud is simply put, perfect for the role. She plays the part as if she is barely aware that she is a woman. She has to learn the most fundamental aspects of femininity such as makeup, manners and flirting. She also has to grow as a person capable of snuffing out a human life on order. Parillaud handles this difficult role with ease realer seen in cinema today. She is successful in portraying both the woman and the hit man (er, hit person) with equal talent. The rest of the cast pales in comparison to her. Even Karyo as her guide, mentor and captor does not hold a candle to Parillauds abilities in this film.
The director, Luc Besson hold true to his cinematic style. He prefers slightly built young women as his leads. Although they have almost boyish figures his heroines have more strength than any man does in the film. This is seen not only in Nikta but also Leon and the 5th Element. Besson also likes to use very claustrophobic sets, narrow European streets, closely walled hallways and corridors. As the main character is closed in emotionally it is reflected on the set. Besson also plays with lighting, always driving the action forward without sacrificing the mood.
This is the second DVD to be released of this movie. The first was not the best job possible. The English soundtrack was only 2.0 and the French original audio was 4.0. Here the audio track has been remastered to 5.1. Typical of this kind of remastering the rear channels do suffer a bit. The sub woofer is not put to the fullest use at all. The video is excellent and clear. If you are a Besson fan you will have to get this one. If you enjoy a good story with action, romance and drama you should also invest in this classic film.