Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France/Italy, 1990. Gaumont, Les Films du Loup, Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica. Screenplay by Luc Besson. Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast. Produced by Patrice Ledoux. Music by Eric Serra. Production Design by Dan Weil. Costume Design by Anne Angelini, Valentin Breton Des Loys, Mimi Lempicka. Film Editing by Olivier Mauffroy. Golden Globe Awards 1991. National Board of Review Awards 1991.
Anne Parillaud plays a junkie who gets picked up by the police during a midnight robbery. When she shows during questioning that beneath her near-psychotic behaviour she possesses razor-sharp skills and crafty intelligence, she is immediately recruited for secret service work as an assassin for the French government. Officially dead to the outside world, she is trained in a hidden fortress to be a killer, a businesswoman, and thanks to some delicate training by the ever-fascinating Jeanne Moreau, a lady. Then she hits the outside world, performs a few jobs for her bosses, and meets a man (Jean-Hugues Anglade) with whom she finds love for the first time. How long can she go on hiding her career from her boyfriend without jeopardizing what could turn out to be the most important relationship of her life? Tchéky Karyo is absolutely terrific as her mentor, the main figure behind her training, and Parillaud is riveting in a role that requires her to be unpredictable, terrifying and likable all at the same time. Later remade with Bridget Fonda as Point Of No Return, with the result petty by comparison, also look for Jean Reno in the role that would eventually be expanded upon in Besson’s equally excellent thriller The Professional.