Look back through Luc Besson’s career and you’ll discover something of a penchant for strong female characters. From Nikita’s eponymous femme fatal, Leon’s young trainee assassin Matilda, to Milla Jovanich as both Leeloo in The Fifth Element and Joan of Arc – they all point to a man with a healthy fixation for bucking the archaic Hollywood obsession with archetypal male leads. No surprise then that Besson has been entrusted to adapt Jacques Tardi’s graphic novel about the daring journalist and internationally acclaimed explorer Adele Blanc-Sec.
We meet our intrepid adventurer as she returns home from an expedition to Peru. She’s on somewhat of a crusade, endeavouring to find a cure for her ailing sister, recently paralyzed after a friendly game of tennis became overly competitive, resulting in an ill-advised hair pin (far from sensible sports ware) becoming permanently implanted in her cranium. Adele’s continued journey in search of a mythical cure for her sibling leads us through a varying set of exotic locations, with constantly changing scenery that switches almost as much as our eponymous heroine replaces her hats (of which there are a plethora on show, ranging from the splendidly elaborate to the outright cumbersome and ludicrous – any one of which, could put the ladies of Ascott to shame)