La Femme Nikita

Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally, a child. --Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra.

La Femme Nikita works less as an action film and more as a character study of its protagonist who ends up on the road to becoming the Nietzschean Overman.

Nikita (Anne Parillaud), a young drug addict, is sentenced to life in prison for killing three police officers while on a botched drug-heist. She is given a chance to rehabilitate herself by Bob (Tcheky Karyo) and slowly she learns to become a highly-trained professional assassin. When she passes her first "test", she is given her own apartment and a chance to lead a normal life, but every once in a while she is asked to perform missions for her country which usually involve blowing people's heads off. While initially eager to fulfill her duties, and even gaining a perverse sort of pleasure from it, she slowly starts appreciating the normalcy of her life particularly after she falls for a grocery store clerk (Jean-Hugues Anglade). In the end the cold-blooded killer has a difficult time with her licensed-to-kill lifestyle and thus makes another choice that forces to once again leave behind the life she's known.

The most interesting aspect about this film is how the transformation of Nikita occurs: from the psychotic killer to the efficient assassin to someone who appreciates life and its "virtues". Parillaud showcases Nikita's metamorphosis brilliantly and her aggressiveness combined with a childlike innocence and behaviour with regards to her predicament is extremely convincing.

I personally believe that reality is just the opposite: violence and destruction are innately part of the human condition and it requires conditioning to overcome it). The message espoused is very much in line with Directory Luc Besson's take on life (see The Fifth Element for example). The film is definitely worth checking out.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||