Luc Besson has always seemed a little bit crazy, in the best possible way. First of all, just look at him. Second, look at his movies -- particularly the ones he's written or directed. Virtually all of them are bursting with ambition, but also kind of a weird lurid streak, a temptation to cross boundaries that one wouldn't expect to be crossed in the movie one is watching. Think the graphic rape scene in 'The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc', or the massively creepy sex slave auction toward the end of 'Taken'. The guy has a knack for taking ordinary genre films and slipping in something to make your skin crawl.

That weirdo sensibility served Besson particularly well with 'The Fifth Element', a massive sci-fi/fantasy folly that on paper should have been a historic flop -- but which instead became massively profitable, an enduring cult favorite, and Besson's most popular film. It was sort of like 'The Matrix', in that it was something that general audiences really hadn't seen before, and that struck a chord. Unlike 'The Matrix', 'The Fifth Element' hasn't spawned a string of imitators: it's too oddball for that.
categories Movies, Cinematical