Parents of the world: listen to me. If you're raising a girly tweenager, don't give her Hannah Montana. Don't give her Twilight or High School Musical or whatever the kids think is cool these days. Slip her a DVD of Nikita. This is girl power in lethal doses, still red-hot after twenty-two years.
|Take a good look at her and then tell me you don't want to see this movie.|
Full disclosure: This movie could have been made for me. I love it. I want to go watch it again right this second. It's got everything. Melodrama. Kick-ass heroine. Bizarre love triangle. Subtitles. It's too bad non-Francophones have to "read" the film, because it's made up of a series of ironically stylish snapshots: Nikita's "pencil trick" (later cribbed by Heath Ledger's Joker), Bob cutting his protege's birthday cake with a switchblade, Nikita hiding a sniper rifle from Marco by throwing it in her bubble bath. Things can get slightly over-the-top -- Nikita "learning to smile" calls to mind Lillian Gish's woebegone waif from Broken Blossoms -- but whatever, I'm not watching this for realism. The mise-en-scene, too, has a comic-book charm: orange wash! Blue wash! Fuck "natural light", this is theatre!
The human core Besson forgot in the similarly exuberant The Fifth Element is present in Nikita: there's a real, wounded soul inside the snarling street punk, and her moral education is the heart of the film. The numerous remakes of Nikita seem not to realize that this is the point of the story. If Nikita was falsely accused to begin with -- if the government forces the character to become a criminal, as in the Canadian TV series -- she has no journey to make. What makes Nikita powerful is that its one-time murderess becomes morally superior to the legal system which allowed her incarceration.
Things I don't like about Nikita: there is nothing I don't like about Nikita. I will warn you, though, that if you're hoping for action babe T+A, you're better off watching something with Megan Fox. Nikita's heroine is grimy, crude, and violent, not glamorous: a fully-fleshed out personality rather than animate cheesecake. Also, the script is more serviceable than brilliant (although if you're looking for whiz-bang quotability, you should realize subtitles take most of the fun out of it).
That's really all I've got, folks. No movie is perfect, but Nikita works for me. This is a 5/5 kind of a movie. Watch it. Do not watch the American version with Bridget Fonda, do not watch the Canadian TV show, do not pass go, do not collect 200$. Watch Besson's original. Despite the army of imitations, there's really nothing like it.
|Is this really a hat you would wear while trying to escape the attention of local authorities?|
|The magic's in the makeup!|