‘Nikki’ opens with a short narration of an impossible love story, and its own plot follows a similar direction, albeit within a different context. Its selection of characters and the links between the two stories, as seen from how the degree of control shifts depending on the professional or personal onus, makes for an intriguing narrative about complete opposites.
Vince is a highly trained killer, who receives assignments and flawlessly executes them, without question or mistake. It seems that nothing can endanger his perfectly calm demeanor and full professionalism. However, when he is forced to work with the beautiful Nikki for an assignment, his soft nature comes into full view. However, while Vince is cold and impersonal while working, Nikki is the same in her private life and chooses not to reciprocate Vince’s affection.
What the film does best is how it establishes its characters, and how it creates the chemistry between them – or, better said, the lack thereof. The only times Nikki seems to feel an emotion and sexual arousal is when she is in physical pain, while for Vince, the boundaries between personal and professional get increasingly muddled the more he has to work alongside Nikki. The dynamics between them almost bundle up in a game of 'hide and seek', which, if the opening monologue is any indication of how things would eventually play out, can only end one way.
Somewhat ironically, the emphasis on character development emerges as the triumphant element but is also the factor that damages other aspects of the film. Most notably, the pacing is uneven at times – in an effort to reveal certain facets of one character and have the other react to them, the film sometimes elects to layer its scenes at a breakneck pace, without a smooth building and cementing process. Also, ‘Nikki’ suffers from a couple of technical hiccups, most notably sound-related – the volume fluctuates from loud to soft throughout, making some dialogue lines difficult to hear. Also, it is clear that some scenes have been shot in a way that it allows to cut some corners, budget-wise, but the results are sometimes a bit awkward.
Even with these minor issues, ‘Nikki’ remains a solid film in its own right, and tells a story that eventually comes full circle in a different way. It’s a story without an obvious antagonist, which explores just how different human beings are, and how context-dependent much of their behavior functions. It’s a short ride, and it may even become a bit predictable after a while, but it offers enough food for thought to remain in the thoughts of its viewers after the credits have rolled.