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Leon the Professional [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Oldman delivers a superb performance in his portrayal of a psychotic, drug snorting, truly unpleasant villian (listens to Beethoven's symphony to inspire him before a killing - both comic and chilling; somehow this and True Romance's pimp roles seem made for Oldman)!
Besson's talent is evident in his portrayal of the relationship between Reno and Portman. He deals with delicate themes such as Portman being the adult at times - she's a mother to her brother, wanting to appear mature as she smokes her cigarette when she first meets Leon vs. Leon playing the father figure/professional hitman role yet being a child himself, is moving; the sexual chemistry between the characters is warm and natural without being sordid. Superb film - not to be missed.
I can't fault this film. Luc Besson is a true artist (I've thoroughly enjoyed his work on every occasion) and this is surely his finest achievement. The casting is truly inspired. I cannot imagine another actor bettering Jean Reno's portrayal of the hitman with a heart.
That said though, the thing that stunned me on first viewing, and on each subsequent viewing, is Natalie Portman's performance as Mathilda. I think I'm correct in saying that she was thirteen years old when Leon was filmed and I cannot understand how someone so young could demonstrate such maturity. She is an absolute 'natural', and perfectly cast.
Finally, I was very impressed by the way Besson dealt with the sensitive subject of their 'relationship'. He manages to convey the warmth without making the viewer feel uncomfortable about the (20 year?) age difference. This becomes more important in the 'director's cut' which contains an extra 20 mins of film which explores their relationship in greater depth; Mathilda has 'designs' on Leon, but he keeps things platonic. Beautifully handled.
If you haven't seen this film you owe it to yourself to give it a viewing. A pity there are only 5 stars available!
When a young Mathilda(Portman) is forced to flee from home, she reaches out to Leon(Reno), her neighbour. Finding out he is a ruthless hitman she herself soon wishes to follow in his steps, so she can act out revenge on the corrupt cop, Stansfield(Oldman).
This is an action packed film with an emotional storyline, and possibly one of the greatest endings in film history.
With Stunning acting by Jean Reno as Leon, Gary Oldman as the corrupt Agent, and a fabulous debut by Natalie Portman as Mathilda. This is a must see, if not a must buy!
The three leads, Reno, Portman and Oldman are possessed, driving the story to an amazing climax. And Besson fills the screen with meaning and purpose, delivering the kind of scenes that Hollywood includes in schmaltzy tributes to the magic of the cinema. The film is a genre unto itself - popcorn art-house. The continental style of Besson, the focus on Little Italy, presents New York with a fresh perspective even now.
The main story sounds controversial, the developing love between a hitman in his 40s and a 12 year old girl arguably more emotionally mature than him, and it is. Some people see Leon as only a father figure for the girl, Mathilda, but no, while it is love it is not familial love. However, Reno plays Leon in such an intelligent and sensitive way that the film never becomes distasteful nor illegal and the purity of the love remains, even if it hints at a future.
Gary Oldman is supremely talented in all of his films, an excellent Beethoven, subsumed entirely into Mason Verger, and magically metamorphosised into a human pair of slippers as Commissioner Gordon, but rewatching Leon now makes you realise that any role in which he doesn't play an out and out villain is a tragic art crime. He was born to play the kind of evil lunatic he is in Leon (and as good as Heath was, I would have loved to have seen Oldman as the Joker).Read more ›
Anyone who wants LEON, would be better spending around two-thirds LESS, and buying the regular UK Blu-Ray release, because this Steelbook is worthless. Yes, it looks nice. And yes, it's a Steelbook, so it'll retain its collectibility value for a while, providing you look after it. But that's it.
But here's what's missing from the UK Steelbook release:
1) Where's the 10 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE featurette? Gone!
2) Where's the Trailer? Gone!
3) Where's the JEAN RENO: THE ROAD TO LEON featurette? Gone!
4) Where's the NATALIE PORTMAN: STARTING YOUNG featurette? Gone!
5) And where's the Natalie Portman cameo video tests, that have been on other previous releases? They're gone too.
Oh, but we do give you two new-ish interviews with Reno and soundtrack musician Eric Serra, but whilst they're okay, they're hardly the most scintillating of extras. They certainly don't make-up for the loss of everything else, that's for sure! So, essentially, you're paying £21 for a reasonably lovely tin! Well, whoop-de-freaking-do!
This release, therefore, must go down as one of the most pointless upgrades for any true fan of the film. The fact that the German Steelbook can be had, and that does include all the extras too, across 2-discs, also makes this new UK release a frivolous one!
Unless you are a Steelbook fanatic, then save your money, and just buy the standard UK Blu-Ray of LEON. It'll cost you less than £7, and you'll be able to do something more worthwhile, with the remaining £14!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a film with cult status and regarded as something of an underground classic. My son has tried to get me to watch it over the years and I just got round to it as I picked it... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Ozymandias
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