Leon  -
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
Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):
Enter Jean Reno !!! (& Natalie Portman) : This film is the story of a very smart and calculating professional killer named Leon (Jean Reno) who ends up with a burden in his arms, a twelve year old girl named Matilda (Natalie Portman). Matilda's fate is almost met when a very crooked DEA Agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman) murders her family while she is out buying milk - Leon saves her life and teaches her the trade of "cleaning". I bought this film before I had even seen it. I did this because of the fantastic reviews it got, and having a real respect for Gary Oldman. When I fired it up the first time... it all suddenly made sense.
The real story behind Leon isn't the gun play, (which is still fantastic) but the relationship between mature well mannered Leon and sexually inexperienced and unsure, but outgoing Matilda. The chemistry between the two on screen is just fantastic, as Leon starts to come to terms with himself that he really is in love with Matilda. Pedophila is an issue in this film (though is never shown) and is understandable why some people find it to be a hard pill to swallow (maybe not for Oldman)... but for me, this film is like taking a trip down a road of rocky revenge, heartbreaking tragedy, breathtaking style and substance to die for. See Leon today. I still think that he loved his plant more than Matilda...their relationship was more of an uncle - niece one
Verbatim : I'm not afraid to admit that I know this film word for word. Luc Besson is, as usual, an amazing director and this is one of the most poignant films I've ever seen and one which (even after 100 viewings of the uncut edition, which is excellent btw) can still bring tears to my eyes.
I'd also be happy to say it's an exploration of the role of the hitman in Nikita and probably Portman's best role ;)
A great story : This is one of my all time favourite films, its a great story of a hired assasin in New York who meets a young girl played by a young Natalie Portman (the daughter of a neighbour) who soon becomes an orphan because of the ruthless corrupt and crazy DEA Police officer played by the fantastic Gary Oldman, who shows one of his best performances in this movie.
Its packed full of action including an explosive finale, but its just not an action thriller, its a very powerful and moving story.
I have often found it hard to describe the relationship between the "cleaner" played by Reno and Portman's character. He I feel sees her as the family he has never had. She obviously has a crush and sees him in romantic way, which he doesnt encourage and struggles to cope with!!!
its these unexpected twists in the story and clever sub plot that makes the film stand out from the crowd. its a modern classic and needs 10 stars. Watch and enjoy endlessly!
Superb : 'Leon' - on the surface a simple revenge story involving a deadly hitman, a psycho cop, and a 11-year old girl. Dig a little deeper however, and there is so much more. This film shows the growing relationship between two very different, seemingly independant, characters, neither having realised before what was missing from their lives.
The film does have moments of violence, but it is never over-the-top and directed well.
All I can really say is, if you are considering watching this film then please do, you will not be disappointed... I do however have one concern, and this is the rumours of a 'Leon 2' becoming a reality, and ruining this great film.
Not just pointless violence : I was hugely prejudiced against this film before I actually saw it, because it had attracted negative publicity. The initial violence was off-putting; but as soon as Natalie Portman appeared it was obvious that this was not some Lolita-type fantasy and on one level could actually be regarded as an innocent, almost soppy attachment to the dependent girl by the solitary, ruthless killer. Violent, yes; but also tender and engrossing.
Buy "Leon " now!