Le dernier combat | Chicago Reader

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Luc Besson, the 24-year-old director of this low-budget debut film, once worked for the French edition of the comic book Heavy Metal, and his visual style here retains the most striking features of la bande dessinee: the black-and-white wide-screen compositions are animated by a tremendous spatial dynamism and a lightness and efficiency of line that suggests ink on paper. The plotting is standard stuff (a rugged survivor of a nuclear war goes in search of a mate among the ruins of a capital city), but differs from its American counterparts in its deemphasis of macho fantasy and more delicate (if occasionally somewhat whimsical) emotional range. The absence of dialogue (only two words are spoken) is a cleverly executed stunt, but it is also an effective alibi for a technically proficient filmmaker who really has nothing to say. Another John Carpenter is born, which is by no means a bad thing. With Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, and Jean Reno.

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