Every Luc Besson Movie Ranked

     July 19, 2017

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Though La Femme Nikita would prove to be his breakthrough, Luc Besson’s feature debut, The Last Battle, presages almost everything about the filmmaker’s career and artistry. The stark black-and-white dystopian tale is an encompassing work, most notable for its scrappy, efficient, and hugely unpredictable world building, orchestrated by the young director. There was skepticism and adventure in that movie, and those would come to be the trademark characteristics of his oeuvre, though he’s not without his oddities.

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Image via Universal Pictures

No one speaks in The Last Battle and a similar tactic might have elevated the upcoming Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Like James Cameron, one of Besson’s rare genuine compatriots, the French-born filmmaker is best when he’s allowed to build planets, cities, species, and universes, but his insistence on writing many of his own films on his own has undermined much of his most entrancing work. When he worked with Robert Mark Kamen on The Fifth Element, the result was his most expansive and wondrous work to date. Then again, working with Michael Caleo brought upon The Family

As a stylist, however, Besson has always left his mark, and he has a preternatural understanding of pacing that rivals Michael Bay but is far more fluid, Cameron without the classicism and charisma. With Valerian hitting the multiplexes this weekend, I decided to rank all of Besson’s movies, from the bleak desert-world of The Last Battle to the crowded conglomeration of cultures in Valerian. For the record, I didn’t count The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (only released on DVD in America) or his documentary Atlantis (hard to get a copy of these days) but all of his other features, even The Messenger, are here. Enjoy!

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