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[P]
The DVD Shelf---Leon: The Professional (1994)

By Psycho Dave in Culture
Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: movies, dvd, action, natalee portman (all tags)
Movies

It is well known that Americans are extremely prudish about sex. It's not really the act itself that makes us squeamish; Americans consume more pornography than fast-food burgers. But when it comes to frank discussions about sexuality in general, we get extremely nervous. We are comfortable with sex only when the issue is kept superficial.

To state that is nothing new or profound. But why use that as a starting point for a discussion of an action film that has no sex or nudity in even a single one of its frames? Well, the film in question is one that had hetero men waiting seven years for a time when it would no longer be disgusting to fap to Natalie Portman.


Leon: The Professional takes its inspiration from many places. The plot is essentially a remake of John Cassavete's Gloria with the protagonists' sexes switched. Director Luc Besson revisits and revamps the minor character of "Victor the Cleaner" from La Femme Nikita and turns him into an Italian hitman named Leon, played by Frenchman Jean Reno. Like Victor, Leon is dispassionate and efficient killer. Sent on assignments by his benefactor, a Little Italy mobster played by Danny Aiello, Leon cuts through his target's security like a knife through a warm baguette.

For all their similarities, Leon is still a few notches below Victor on the ruthlessness scale; he won't do contracts on women or kids and while the opportunity doesn't present itself in the film, I don't imagine Leon would dissolve people with acid while they're still alive. On his off days, he watches Gene Kelly musicals with childlike glee and consumes more milk than any character since Alex in A Clockwork Orange (is that supposed to be tie-in advertising from the dairy council?) His only friend is a houseplant he sprays with water constantly. He sleeps in a chair with his eyes open and a loaded pistol on the stand next to him.

Leon makes acquaintance with Mathilda (Natalie Portman), the 12 year-old girl who lives in the apartment down the hall with her sleazy, abusive father and step mom. Her parents have been cutting dope they've supposed to be holding for a group of corrupt DEA agents, led by the psychotic Stansfield. Played by Gary Oldman at his scene chewing finest (this is probably the best villain role he's ever had...I still occasionally fight the urge to yell "EVERYOOOONE!" when the mood strikes me) Stansfield is an amyl nitrate popping nut job who (also like Alex in A Clockwork Orange) listens to Beethoven to get hyped up before murdering Mathilda's parents and siblings.

Leon, who has been watching massacre from the spy hole on his door, rescues Mathilda from the DEA agents by letting her into his apartment. After learning what he does as his profession, Mathilda convinces the reluctant Leon to teach her how to "clean" so she can take revenge on the people that killed her little brother.

From this point on, you can tell roughly how the movie is going to play out: Mathilda's childlike innocence will humanize Leon and he will eventually take revenge on Gary Oldman. Where Leon steps away from this conventional set-up is in how overtly sexual the character of Mathilda is. God knows what would have happened to this girl if she had grown up in the age of chatrooms and Myspace predators. Mathilda quickly falls in love with her mentor and is anything but shy about expressing it. This is difficult for Leon, who views their relationship as a strictly father-daughter type thing. He always does the right thing and keeps their relationship strictly platonic. The struggle he feels around Mathilda is more of a "how do I let this person I care about down easy?" awkwardness than whether he should hit it or not.

The highly sexualized portrayal of young girls makes most people uneasy, myself included. While one cannot talk about the film without bringing up the issue, Besson does not treat it in an exploitative manner. Indeed, Natalie Portman (in her debut performance) imbues Mathilda with a dignity that keeps her character from being a cheap joke. Where Leon is something of a child in a man's body--mature yet awkward with adult emotions--Mathilda is wise beyond her years but not quite a grown up. Her love of Leon feels sweet and innocent, a little girl's crush heightened by the desperation of their circumstances.

Despite it's emphasis on characterizations, Leon: The Professional is first and foremost an action movie. Luc Besson is no slacker when it comes to gunplay. The action scenes are more polished and exciting than the ones in La Femme Nikita, which was far from skimpy in its pyrotechnics. It deserves a place with any of the classic "hitman" movies, if that's even a genre.

When the movie was first released, many critics and test audiences savaged it as being virtually child pornography. In response 24 minutes were cut from the US theatrical release are primarily scenes between Mathilda and Leon, most notoriously one where she explicitly asks to lose her virginity to him. That would have been too much for a general American public, though it probably could have had an audience on the art house circuit. While the US theatrical version (which came out as simply The Professional) was lean and got the point across, I do prefer the "international version" with the 24 minutes restored. There are too many great character moments where Leon teaches Mathilda how to "clean" to leave on the cutting room floor.

Leon: The Professional is an odd fusion of the European and the American. The bittersweet conflict between its misfit characters played against a backdrop of blood and cordite elevates the film from being either just a dumb action movie or a dull French drama. Just remember, even twelve years after it's been released, it is still wrong to fap to Natalie Portman in this picture. If that's what you're all about, then go rent Closer....sicko.

See other reviews for Bad Lieutenant, Bumfights, UNITED, UltraViolet, 24: Season 4 and Season 2, Die Another Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bad Taste, The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded, Taxi Driver, Any Given Sunday, The Abyss, Terminator 2, and Aliens, Platoon and We Were Soldiers, Equilibrium, and Broken Arrow.

/shameless plug

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Related Links
o Bad Lieutenant,
o Bumfights,
o UNITED,
o UltraViolet,
o 24: Season 4
o Season 2,
o Die Another Day,
o Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,
o Bad Taste,
o The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded,
o Taxi Driver,
o Any Given Sunday,
o The Abyss, Terminator 2, and Aliens,
o Platoon and We Were Soldiers,
o Equilibriu m,
o Broken Arrow.
o Also by Psycho Dave


Display: Sort:
The DVD Shelf---Leon: The Professional (1994) | 53 comments (41 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
its ok to jack off to this movie (3.00 / 18) (#2)
by army of phred on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 12:45:13 PM EST

if you just do it while leon's shooting people. otherwise thats just sick!

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
only error i saw was.... (none / 0) (#5)
by dakini on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:06:59 PM EST

"Despite it's emphasis on characterizations, Leon: The Professional is first AND foremost and action movie." should AND not be AN?? this is a great review..done very nicely...

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
oooooooooops wrong AND..sorry..the second one.. (none / 0) (#6)
by dakini on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 02:08:40 PM EST



" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
[ Parent ]
+1 fp (none / 0) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 05:24:12 PM EST

movie reviews

my favorite subject

i never saw this flick, but i don't care, i think i've read more reviews of movies in my life than actually seen movies

it's just as interesting to me... actually more so

because sometimes a movie review is more entertaining than the product it is reviewing

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

cts, (none / 0) (#26)
by ZeroesAndOnes on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:35:19 AM EST

you remind me of a (French) fictional character, who spontaneously decides to visit London. When he reaches the train station, he overhears some English visitors, whom he finds disgusting. Feeling that he now knows what London would be like, he immediately returns home.

why not post less on K5, and watch more films?  They're better than you think.


0000 1001 1010 1101
[ Parent ]

You're making a film... (none / 0) (#48)
by davidmb on Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 11:43:35 AM EST

...but don't particularly like watching them? Interesting. At least when your film comes out, you won't be accused of plagiarism.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
Léon and geek appeal (2.40 / 5) (#12)
by demi on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 07:34:03 PM EST

I wonder what it is about geeks loving this one so much.

Certainly part of it has to do with NP. Everyone knew she would grow up to be a first magnitude hottie. But it probably comes down to Léon himself: a wiry framed, reclusive, violent-savant who practices a bushido-like discipline with his armaments (comped Beretta 92's and a knife instead of a SMG), who is set upon by a preadolescent Aeon Flux intent on her own deflowerment. Cf. what Nabokov once wrote about the bliss of fondling a nymphet. I would add 1980's Book of Five Rings Japanese fetishism to the list of influences: he's an ascetic, trenchcoated, street samurai who cares little for earthly temptations. It's in the scenes with Danny Aiello that Léon comes off as a bit childlike; I think in the scenes with Portman he is more of a befuddled 'not ready to be a Dad' bachelor, who wrestles with those feelings vs. the instinct to simply dispose of her and resume his life as a solitary killer.

Luc Besson's limitation all along has been that he's been brilliant at framing the antihero characters, but does so poorly when it comes to the bad guys. He does well with suspenseful music, great shoot-outs with exotic weapon choices, but the bad guys are so cartoonish or just plain weak that you never remember them. Except Gary Oldman in this movie (he sucked in Fifth Element).

I still occasionally fight the urge to yell "EVERYOOOONE!"
I do love that one line, because it's really funny, but Gary Oldman, come on - why was he ever considered a great performer? Did his rising popularity in the '90s drive Al Pacino to become the 100 decibel dago in some kind of overacting arms race.

Overall I found the strong points to be Eric Serra's score, Portman's role as Mathilda, Léon's precious few philosophical waxings about cleaning, great final battle with a clever way of killing off the main bad guy. Weaknesses were generic NYC mob characters, crooked cops, Gary Oldman, Jean Reno as an Italian.

Thank you, film dork. (1.00 / 3) (#25)
by Comrade Wonderful on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 10:32:11 AM EST

I would dispute that geeks like this movie in any greater proportion.

Gary Oldman didn't suck in Fifth Element.  My understanding is that the character was based off Ross Perot.  I think he did good.  It was amusing to watch.  Therefore: Success.

Al Pacino started to yell because Gary Oldman was getting more popular?  What?

Do you memorize train schedules for fun?

[ Parent ]

hm what do we have here (none / 1) (#27)
by demi on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:43:05 AM EST

1. k5 dupe account

2. gets weepy over fifth element

3. thinks Ross Perot 'did good'

4. faild

lol I just sunk your battleship

[ Parent ]

Hope this is one of those new (none / 0) (#29)
by daveybaby on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 12:38:14 PM EST

'tick multiple boxes' types of poll

[ Parent ]
Go count something, Aspie. (1.00 / 3) (#30)
by Comrade Wonderful on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 01:54:56 PM EST

  1. What is a 'dupe account'?  

  2. Weepy?  You are obviously trying to use insults that bullies used on you when you were approximately the same size as them.

  3. Gary Oldman did good, not Ross Perot.  Hooray for reading comprehension.

  4. Battleship?  lolDork.


[ Parent ]
I'll never forget Oldman (none / 0) (#38)
by Maximilio on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:38:02 PM EST

I am...a little...disappointed. And if there is one thing I do not like...it is to be... disappointed.

For all the world sounding like he's been born and raised in Tennessee, Oldman nails the Zorg role.  I can't get enough of him as that character.  I have yet to see Oldman play a part I didn't like him in.  And yes, I've seen just about everything he's done, including the really weird eighties shit.

[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 0) (#31)
by tthomas48 on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 02:25:59 PM EST

What is Gary Oldman considered a great performer? If perhaps you only see mainstream movies where he's typecast as a badguy you might not know. But here's a pretty broad list of some of his roles. Many of them are better than the movies they're in. None of them are crazy shouting villians.

Sid & Nancy
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead
JFK
Dracula
Immortal Beloved
Basquiat
Batman Begins

[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 1) (#33)
by khaustic on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:01:50 PM EST

Gary Oldman is generally regarded as one of the finest living character actors in the world.  He's got an incredible ability to make himself nearly unrecognizable in his roles, thus earning the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

And maybe you hate his character in Leon, but according to Wikipedia, that portrayal earned him a space in the top 50 film villans of all time.

Of course, I'm biased...  ask me who my favorite actor is, he's the first name to spring to mind.

[ Parent ]

character actor (none / 0) (#34)
by demi on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:29:02 PM EST

as in the same character every time? Drexl in True Romance was interesting, I'll give you that one.

[ Parent ]
I meant to say... (none / 0) (#37)
by khaustic on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 07:48:56 PM EST

method acting, not necessarily character acting (though the terms can be somewhat interchangeable).  My point was that he has a talent for "owning" the character he's playing, to the point where it's often hard to tell it's him.

Here's an example.

[ Parent ]

I'll have to check out some of those (none / 0) (#35)
by demi on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:30:29 PM EST

mostly I stick to mainstream movies though, not so much cult underground kind of stuff. Thx.

[ Parent ]
indeed (none / 1) (#47)
by transient0 on Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 10:37:22 AM EST

his performance in sid and nancy was brilliant.
---------
lysergically yours
[ Parent ]
ping (none / 0) (#53)
by zenofchai on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 04:28:04 PM EST

so, how's life, and all that. frankduff.com is le dead. hope you're not, etc.

-z
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

I was going to comment on this in the diary (none / 0) (#14)
by yaksox on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 08:50:53 PM EST

And say that - in Aus. we must've got the cut up version too - it aired on commercial telly, if memory serves, and the most risque bit I remember were the kids saying something like, 'I feel love for you' and Jean asking where do you feel it, and her sliding her hand down her to her solar plexis -- but not further.

But as a comment two spots up was getting at - what I liked - was Jean Reno. Great accent.
There was this other thing I saw him in - french - perhaps an earlier go at the story that highlander(???) ripped -- where jean reno and that popular french guy with the arse-nose were transported through time. They were medieval knights in the present.
There was this scene where they drank from the toilet. That rocked.
zom·bie n. 3. One who looks or behaves like an automaton.

The Visitors (none / 0) (#43)
by creaothceann on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 10:11:08 AM EST

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Visiteurs

[ Parent ]
oh yeah! (none / 0) (#50)
by Abominable Abitur on Sat Jul 01, 2006 at 07:22:46 PM EST

highlander totally ripped them off seven years before their movie came out. WORD!

"Terrorism is only a viable "political activist" method for marginalized nutjobs, bottom line. The backlash that it causes makes it intractable for any reasonable ideology. Which is why you don't generally see wild athiest suicide bombers in america's streets." - lonelyhobo
[ Parent ]
tl;dr (1.00 / 13) (#15)
by ksandstr on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:04:42 PM EST

I expect the short of this review is: damn those snotty shithead Frenchies trying to push their artsy bullshit on us god-fearin' americans. I hate this movie before it's even begun and will switch my brain off and focus on muh dick in pre-emptive retaliation. Even if the only major part in this film remotely compatible with said implement is the 12-odd years old naked-and-petrified.

If this makes section, maybe I'll read through it for amusement's sake; I mean, your reviews generally read like poking holes in those parts of the film that go over your "pres butan, receev brane mcdonalds" alter ego's head. So if your review focuses on blasting a (non-zombie, non-Arnoldator-or-equivalent) flick for not having a plot -- hey, that might actually be worth watching.

Fin.

+1 FP another good article from Psycho Dave (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by livus on Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 09:34:26 PM EST

we need more of this.

What scares me slightly is that the first time I saw this film, I didn't notice anything sexual in it at all.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

given your sig, I'm not surprised % (none / 1) (#32)
by creative dissonance on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 04:39:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
what are you telling me (none / 0) (#40)
by livus on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:48:28 PM EST

you think there's something sexual in my sig?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
+1 SP (1.50 / 2) (#21)
by gzur on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 05:42:00 AM EST

Take away the article and just leave the shameless plug and I'll +1 FP it.

_________________________________________
"I'm not looking for work, but I wouldn't say no to a Pacific rim job."
I don't get it (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by stuaart on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 06:37:11 AM EST

I don't understand why so many people thought this film was amazing. In my view, it wasn't. It wasn't subtle and ``European'', and the relationship established between Portman and Reno was quite obvious. In the end, it felt like a silly action movie with some ill thought-out and fuzzy stuff about attraction between a young girl and an adult man. There was little to really challenge the viewer.

But maybe that was because of the 24 minutes that were cut. Still would feel like glorified action movie, though.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


Natalie Portman - Crush (none / 1) (#23)
by dksilver on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:17:27 AM EST

I saw the international version of Leon when it first came out in the cinemas when I was only 12 years old. When I first saw it I instantly had a crush on Natalie Portman.

I'm now 25 (turning 26 soon) and Leon is one of my favourite films that I regularly watch on DVD. (I actually worn out the Video Tape back in the late 1990's) One of the main reason I watch it alot is because of Natalie Portman.

Now, is it wrong for me to still have the same crush on Natalie Portman in her character in Leon when I'm now 25 even though this crush first came up when I was 12? I'm not into young girls and I believe people who take advantage of young children should be tortured for life.

But I love watching Leon mainly for Natalie Portman and her character because of my childhood crush. Do I just forget about my childhood crush because it's politically and morally incorrect to hold such feelings at my age towards such a young character? At what age do you just drop those feelings?

I have seen nearly all of Natalie Portman's films and I will always regard her role as Mathilda in Leon as her very best.
====== DKSILVER ====== "I never lose sight of who I am, I make others do"

wow (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by livus on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 02:20:37 AM EST

what a dilemma.

If you don't mind my asking, have all of your crushes lasted you this long? Or have you abandoned some of them?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

abandoning one's self (none / 0) (#49)
by zenofchai on Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 01:10:29 PM EST

  1. Robin Wright in The Princess Bride, 1987 -- this became my image of what feminine beauty was and has lasted me fairly well, now almost 20 years later. Robin was 21 at the time of release. I was 9.
  2. Jane March in The Lover, 1992 -- Jane was 19 at the time of release. I was 14.
  3. Natalie Portman in The Professional, 1994 -- Natalie was 13 at the time of release. I was 16.
  4. Terry Farrell in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 1993+ -- Terry was 30 at the time of release. I was 15.
  5. Renee O'Connor in Xena: Warrior Princess, 1995+ -- Renee was 24 at the time of release. I was 17.

I think certainly that my idea of feminine beauty was created and remains strongly effected by the films I have seen, particularly in my "developing" years. It is not so much that I ever did or remain to have a "crush" on any of these, but more that my "ideal" was tempered through film and experience. I think that I saw The Lover at too young an age to really comprehend too much of its real themes. Now I think my "ideal" of film beauty is something like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or Parminder Nagra in Bend it Like Beckham. Still physically much like that first idea of feminine beauty from The Princess Bride, but more tempered with personality and will instead of the simple one-dimensional attraction.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
you sir, have a get out of pedophilia free ticket (none / 1) (#45)
by balsamic vinigga on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 11:37:24 PM EST

pedophelia i only fucked up if you manipulate illegal beaver... othrewise you're in the clear.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]
the blossoming of Natalie Portman (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Ezra Loomis Pound on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 09:26:30 AM EST

She would be far less sexy today if we'd not seen her then, in her preteen manifestation, and you know it. What I mean is, if you think she is hot today, it is most likely in part because you think of that "cute" girl who became the sex goddess she is today. Same with all these child stars/bombshells--they retroactively imbue their early careers with a sexuality we aren't able to recognize until later, when they grow up. Jodie Foster is another good example--as the 14 yr old hooker in Taxi Driver she was nothing special, but then, after she came of age and made a few more movies, she really became something in Taxi Driver. Ask John Hinckley, he agrees.

:::"Let me tell ya, if she wasn't cut out to handle some fake boy online, well sister, life only gets more difficult, and you only get more emo as you age." --balsamic vinigga :::#_#:::
you're talking about fake intimacy. (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by livus on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 02:17:17 AM EST

It's the same reason why Michael Jackson's fans love him so much.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
One of my favorite flicks (none / 1) (#28)
by easilyodd on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:47:16 AM EST

All Natalie Portman crap aside, this is a great all 'round film.

I originally saw the international version on my own and then talked a load of friends into seeing the Americanized version.  I had to get the DVD the day the international version came out to make sure that load of friends saw it.

The cast really made this film. It's true that this is the best villan that Gary Oldman has played.  Every character in the movie has to deal with Mathilde's age and does so in different and good ways.

Very well worth the time.  Good review.

Nice (none / 0) (#36)
by wdir1 on Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 06:11:29 PM EST

Good review , hoping for the future information

It *is* a very good movie (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by Qbertino on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:23:22 AM EST

I've seen some posts about 'Why do so many Geeks love this movie?' and 'What's all the hype - it's only some strange weirdo action flick.'
Let me get one thing strait: Like it or not - it is a very good movie.
Reasons:
  1. The Characters and their actors fit. All of them - from the beginning fat man to the second last shot at spencer school, showing typical upperclass teen girls in the back yard of a boarding school.
  2. The characters may be cliché but they all have a background and enough play to make them merge with the whole thing.
  3. Luc Bessons filming/directing. This guy allready was very good in the old days of 'Subway' and 'Nikita' and it all lead to Leon - his all time high I'd say. There is simply only so much directors that get it right with the poetry in movies and the right balance between action and tranquility. And Besson is very good at his craft. Ridley Scott is one of them too - that's why every cyberpunk movie is allways a sad-and-sorry rippoff of Bladerunner in one way or the other. 'Ghost in the Shell' anyone?
  4. The music. Eric Sera is Bessons ever-present counterpart on the movies he makes and he allways has him on board. One film-critics guy once called "Joan d'Arc" nothing but a giant videoclip to Eric Seras music. We all know why. I still get goose pimpels hearing the opening theme of Leon.
  5. The selection process for Matilda, the costuming of Matilda. "He said:'You showing my teenage girls that know sex. I want a girl that thinks she knows sex.' " said the guy who conducted the grueling selection process for the part of Matilda. Let's face it folks: The French have distinct style and artistry when it comes to subtle and thus high-impact eros. Just a few weeks ago I was on a train trip from Cologne to southern germany and there was a class of french teenies roughly 15, obviously on a class trip learning german. The atmosphere litterly was crackling with sweet inocent latent eros in a way impossible with overly stern german youngsters or ultra-extreme prudish americans. All on the carriage - grown up married men and women alike - were joking and helping out teaching each other french and german and vice versa. The style of clothing reminded me of Matilda in Leon. The women that did the costumes on Leon - I don't recall her name - when great lengths to find styles that would apeal to Luc Besson. We all know she did an exceptionally good job.
  6. Again the shooting and camera work: While US movies allways fail at subtleness and overdo in the over-the-top-excess-violence dept. (James Cameron, are you reading this?) the actions scenes in Leon are superbly executed and choreographed and yet concentraded and focused. Which makes them ever so much more effective. Add Seras suberbly fitting music to that and you've got half the movie.
  7. The play. Jean Reno actually cried when he saw it. Probably instantly well aware that this would booster his career a fair bit aswell. How very true. The play is very good and offers a solid foundation to experiment for those who are able. I'm shure the fat man scene is only half a page but Luc Besson knew how to place it. Getting the transition from Paper to Film right is a large part of a directors craft and - did I say this before? - Luc Besson is a very good director.

Bottom line: Like it or not - Leon is a movie from the highest shelf. I personally consider it one of the best movies ever made.

I agree... (none / 0) (#44)
by creaothceann on Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 10:18:35 AM EST

... but please check for typos before posting.

[ Parent ]
Natalie Portman's Best film (none / 0) (#46)
by Raindoll on Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:35:50 AM EST

I still think this is Natalie Portman's best film.
The relationship between her and Jean Reno is excellently portrayed. Mathilda reminds me of a few people I know, and comes across as believable ... unlike many other roles she has had lately. (Star Wars and V for Vendetta come to mind ...)

I love the mood set in this film by Eric Serra's music and the cinematography. Luc Besson is/was an excellent director.

WHaat? (none / 0) (#51)
by slaida1 on Thu Jul 13, 2006 at 08:57:17 AM EST

Review about Leon that writes almost exclusively about Portman's role even though she was just a sidekick, an annoying hindrance to all the action that could've been.

Leon is like Sin City; it's full of comics style still-like beautiful action shots that just.. I don't know, even The Matrix couldn't get that authentically messy, brute and beautiful violence as much right as Leon did. Other film that come to my mind with similar impact was Reservoir Dogs but.. what Tarantino made after that kind of spoiled the feeling of accidental success of beautifully (un)realistic violence. Or something.

I saw Leon like I saw Matrix: action like never before. That deep bass when Leon appears from the darkness behind the Fat Man in introductory hitrun still gives shivers. In Anime there are more of those shiny round glasses here and there.. like Hellsign for example.

you saw... (none / 0) (#52)
by CAIMLAS on Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 09:12:02 AM EST

You saw the 'American' version, which had a good half hour of the film cut out, leaving it a decent, but still depthless action film centered around Leon.

The intended film ('director's cut', I guess) is centered around Matilda. It's an entirely different film.
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The DVD Shelf---Leon: The Professional (1994) | 53 comments (41 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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