From acclaimed director Luc Besson comes the hard-hitting, action-packed thriller, 'Leon'. Gary Oldman plays a corrupt government official whose maniacal greed leads to murder on the streets of New York. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues when he crosses paths with a lone hit-man named Leon (Jean Reno). Caught in the middle is an orphaned 12-year-old girl (Natalie Portman), who can't forgive or forget the man who killed her family.
A strange, violent and haunting film
- Leon review by RP
A strange and haunting film set against a background of violence. Leon (played by Jean Reno) is a hit man. When a neighbouring family is killed by a corrupt cop (well, DEA agent + colleagues) played by a scary and over-the-top Gary Oldman, Leon looks after the only survivor, Mathilda (a remarkable performance from a then 12 year old Natalie Portman). She wants to get revenge on the killers and persuades Leon to teach her his trade. When she confronts the baddies she is easily taken, Leon comes to the rescue, kills all before him – then takes his own life along with the boss baddie. Err, that's it. But what makes the film is the characterisation, and the changing of Leon from a lone emotional cripple to someone who takes on the responsibility of a young girl and begins to care. And caring can be dangerous when you're a hit man. Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful.
Well crafted. Excellent.
- Leon review by CP Customer
The other review is a spoiler: please delete it.
Natalie Portman's performance is brilliant, her character is endearing. Jean Russo and Gary Oldman also portray their roles well. But it is the direction, photography of New York and the soundtrack that makes this film one of my favourites. It is violent, and a little over the top at times, but on balance a lovable film, about people trying to get on in the Big Apple.
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
- Leon review by ng
Well worth seeing as the acting and filming come from the top draw . Am I allowed to say I enjoyed the violence ?
4 not 5 stars, as on reflection the story line has more holes than a sieve !
This is the first time I had seen the film in HD and the mastering process has worked very well indeed. A beautiful piece of telecine to do justice to one of the best of the '90s hitman genre.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
A fantastic film with Gary Oldman creating one of the greatest villains in cinema history
- Leon review by TB
Luc Besson ventured out of his native France to New York City for this amazing tour de force film (although amusingly the vast majority of the interior scenes were shit in France.)
Jean Reno plays Leon, a hitman who despite his incredible lethality, is also in many ways a childlike character. Natalie Portman, in he debut here, plays Mathildè, a girl who watches her parents be brutally slain and then take solace with Leon. From there, she asks him to train her as a killer to avenge her brother's murder.
But this film belongs to Gary Oldman. He is quite literally... something else. He is a total, complete and utter psychopath, his skin crawling with violence and electricity. And I loved every second watching him on the screen. As much as he is used absolutely perfectly, as in not too much, I just wanted to spend the whole film watching him. One fun fact, regarding his infamous "EVERYONE!" scream is that this was totally improvised. Oldman randomly just decided to shout it at his henchmen, hence the shock. In that moment, a cinematic legend was cemented.
A brilliant film and perfectly realised.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.
A Crime Thriller - Unsettling & Really Quite Brilliant
- Leon review by GI
This is considered one of Luc Besson's best films. It's an American set crime thriller with that gritty and realistic European arthouse style and vibe that makes it eminently watchable and original. In her first real role Natalie Portman is the 12 year old Mathilda whose family is massacred by a corrupt DEA agent, Stansfield (Gary Oldman), and his team. She seeks sanctuary with her strange neighbour, Léon, who just happens to be a highly skilled hitman. Under his tutelage she plots her revenge. The highlights of this film are Oldman as the psychopath agent Stansfield and Reno as the child like and emotionally stunted Léon. But, in the director's cut version, the relationship between Mathilda and Leon takes on a challenging slant and the awkward nature of it makes you perk up and take notice that this is more than a routine action thriller. Besson skirts a very fine line here but he does it skilfully and focuses the narrative on the relationship between Leon and Mathilda turning this film into something highly original and intriguing. It's a film of strange nuances from the opening sequence where Leon's skills take on an almost supernatural air to the various interactions with the main characters and these include the father/son dynamic between Leon and his boss, mafioso Tony (Danny Aiello), and the neurotic and evil force of Stansfield who corrupts all he encounters. Oldman really excels here and makes this psychopath a real force to be remembered. But it's in the beguiling play of father/daughter, mentor/pupil and finally lovers (?) of Leon and Mathilda that the film plays around with your feelings and leave you strangely unsettled but also satisfied.