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Leon - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray]
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English language thriller from Luc Besson, the director of 'Nikita'. Gary Oldman plays Norman Stansfield, a psychotic government official whose actions provide the catalyst for murder on the New York streets. When a young girl named Mathilda (Natalie Portman) witnesses her family being gunned down by Oldman's team of corrupt cops, she teams up with lone hitman Leon (Jean Reno) to take revenge. Portman made her movie debut with this film.
Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) made his American directorial debut with Leon, a stylised thriller about a French hit man (Jean Reno) who takes in an American girl (Natalie Portman) being pursued by a corrupt killer cop (Gary Oldman). Oldman is a little more unhinged than he should be, but there is something genuinely irresistible about the story line and the relationship between Reno and Portman. Rather than cave in to the cookie-cutter look and feel of American action pictures, Besson brings a bit of his glossy style from French hits La Femme Nikita and Subway to the production of The Professional, and the results are refreshing even if the bullets and explosions are awfully familiar.--Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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 ›
The transfer to blueray is ok but not brilliant when compared for example to casino royale blueray but for me it was about getting the additional cuts and with blueray they all fit on one disc no problem.
Gary Oldman gives a truly sinister performance as a psychotically murderous corrupt cop (the enemy of both Leon and Mathilda.)
The humour provides some light hearted relief ( ie Mathilda's impersonation of Madonna, Marilyn Monroe in "Happy Birthday Mr. President" and a great Charlie Chaplin) also Leon's attempt at John Wayne is a nice moment.
The musical score by Eric Serra is very good although, presumably, for copyright reasons, the excellent single "Venus as a Boy" by the Icelandic singer and actress Bjork is not included on the soundtrack but it is available separately at budget price.
One of my favourite moments is when Mathilda, having just been rescued from Oldman's murderous colleagues by Leon, asks him his name.
On hearing what it is she replies "Cute name" at which point Leon spills his glass of milk all over himself! a nice moment in an intelligent, original and moving film.
The film avoids being exploitative due to the sensitivity of its direction and through the intelligent performances by its leading actors.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best films ever. Need I say more??? If you haven't seen this it should be on your Bucket List :-)Published 4 days ago by Julian Wright
1 of my favourite films and music magpie has never let me down and delivery is always prompt. And the prices are amazing ! Would thoroughly recommend. great watch 😁Published 14 days ago by dean fury
Bénéficiant d'une réédition à partir d'un master 4K, cette merveille de film nous ravit encore davantage: couleurs plus chaudes et... Read morePublished 15 days ago by oumebaba
This film is worth watching for many reasons. One is the photography with some fascinating camera angles and mesmerising close-ups. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Wilkinson65