A corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration boss and his thugs murder Natalie’s family in a drug deal gone awry. Orphaned by the massacre, Natalie is forced to take shelter in the apartment of a neighbor, Leon, whom she knows only slightly. He’s a loner and first generation immigrant, who also happens to be a professional hitman. He’s never had reason to care about anybody and she has no one else to
This is still one of my favourite movies of all time, I’ve been longing to watch it for quite a while but A Suan had stolen it and not given it back.
I’ve watched this movie maybe 10-15 times and I STILL love it, now that is testament to a great film.
It ranks it at #45 of the top 250 movies of all time at IMDB, which is also pretty impressive.
But I remember when I first saw it (It’s from 1994), it didn’t rank that highly and actually a lot of people hadn’t seen it as it wasn’t well received in America….Americans being rather blunt and simplistic found the movie somewhat paedophilic, which it isn’t of course.
It is Natalie Portmans first role, when she was just 12 years old and she does play a rather provocative character.
The movie starts out like any other trashy action movie, the first 5 minutes feeling stylised and lacking substance, but then the movie completely changes tack and takes you for an intense yet poignant ride.
It’s a movie about broken families, about living without emotion, about living with no one but a plant, or your fantasies.
The performance by a then twelve year old Portman is breathtaking, she captivates and really makes you feel her situation and loathing for her pathetic family.
The soundtrack is stunning, to me this is what movie making is about.
There’s no big budget, there’s no special effects, the action isn’t overly gory or all the time, the score is original..and well the whole thing just shows there IS NO replacement for good solid acting.
Gary Oldman does what he does best as a creepy, sadistically obsessed, slightly psychotic corrupt police officer.
Above that…the film is just beautifully directed, it is a true masterpeice, you can watch it over and over and learn more, appreciate the subtleties of the movie.
Leon is not another cheap action movie, it’s one of the most intensely emotional films you will ever see.
Make sure you see the full uncut version though, not the US version which has a rather important 24 minutes cut out.
If you haven’t seen this movie, as I have seen…many people haven’t
GO AND SEE IT NOW.
It’s one of the few movies on this earth that I give a 10/10.
damn good movie 😛 i’ve watched it when i was little, forgotten most of it.
thanks for lending it to me 😛 😀
Love the movie, but the lolita references a bit gross, sometimes.
agree with you wholeheartedly man. I loved that movie!! One of the best ever!
lend me laaa
good shit indeed.
reminds me of Stephen Chow too 😛
natalie’s performance was ‘breath-taking’… hmm… alright….
can’t say i’ve a very good impression of her though.. after watching her very very baddd acting in episode 3
“OH ANAKIN… What do we do now?”
er why stephen chow?!?!?!
One of my top 10 movies of all time… really awesome stuff from Luc Besson (as usual). Natalie Portman and Jean ‘I Never Ever Shave’ Reno rocked too. Dunno whether my eDVD is the uncut or US version, though. Hey ST, which were the scenes that were cut in the US version?
WOW! I didn’t realise that was Natalie Portman in that movie. I saw it ages ago on PayTV (back when I had PayTV … which I only had because I was married, and my Ex-wife wanted it).
So, I only realised it was Natalie Portman because I just read this review, she wasn’t femes back when I watched it!
When I saw it on PayTV, I always wondered why I had never heard of it before then. It didn’t seem to get any publicity in Sydney (not to my knowledge anyway), and for years I was the only person who had seen it.
Once it had played on free to air TV a lot of people I know had then seen it, and I had heard a lot of them talk about it … and it became a sort of underground cult hit of sorts.
Damn good movie.
i like how luc besson managed to make new york look like a european city (all the long panorama shots). and the soundtrack is oso quite unforgettable:-)))
Suan: Stephen Chow did his own version of Leon in 1995’s Out of the Dark (Hui Wan Yeh).
Love this film but Oldman brings it down from a 10 to a 6.5 at best. His typical overacting ruins what is a really believeable film with fairly naturalistic performances from the rest of the cast. A shame.
Omg. Yeah. I absolutely adore this movie. I have it as well. And no way i’m lending it to anyone… learnt my lesson when i lent Empire Records to ‘spread the love’ and never got it back -_-
“Americans being rather blunt and simplistic found the movie somewhat paedophilic, which it isn’t of course.”
If it weren’t for Americans, there wouldn’t be movies like: Donnie Darko, Casablanca, Shindler’s List, It’s a Wonderful Life, American Beauty, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rebecca, Unforgiven, and yes, even LEON (France/USA collaboration). And I doubt that that’s a good thing.
ST, what have you got against Americans? Why are you constantly putting Americans down? Did something happen that you’re not telling us about?
I enjoy your blog but it always gets to me when you say bad things about America and its people without really knowing what you’re talking about. If you were American or you’ve lived in America for a long, long time, then I would be able to understand how you can make comments like that. But you’re not and I doubt that you’ve lived in America or you’ve been surrounded by Americans for years. So, please don’t generalize a country or its people. It’s insulting. I would not do that to your country or its people or any other countries. Not everyone who lives in the same country thinks or acts the same. Just my opinion.
Love this movie. As for the music, Luc Besson & Eric Serra combo is like Speilberg & John Williams, they never fail to deliver. Try to watch The Boondock Saints, u might like it.
This is in the top row of my collection, a row reserved for most watched and rewatched, and most loved movies, sitting in between Heat and Ronin. I’ve got it in video cassette (which got obsolete), then VCD, which I loaned to my brother and never got back also (this is like a disease, why do people who borrowed movies always think they don’t need to return?) and recently got my hands on the uncut DVD version.
And nobody’s gonna borrow that off me.
Love this moive, althrough it remind me of my childhood. Everyone need love and care,like Natalie.i don’t know where is the origin of love,which still in heart.
All time favourite movie. And I agree with delia. It’s cool how they made New York smell like Europe.
suanie: Thanks for giving it back…eventually 😉
Boss Stewie: Can’t judge an actor by Starwars prequels, Ewan McGregor has done some amazing stuff too (Trainspotting?)..They are just shit films.
VC: I don’t really know which were cut, as I’ve only ever watched the full version, you can probably find out online somewhere.
Dabido: Yah that’s kind of how it happened in most places, I don’t think it was publicised much anywhere, but it’s become a strong favourite amongst many.
Adam Ifans: I couldn’t take it down that far, just because of 1 actor..I thought he was good anyway, his character needed a little overacting IMO. Classical music and killing, he was a nutcase.
JoyceTheFairy: Yah I might build a shelf for my favourites, and call it the nolend zone.
Blinkyboo: Yah and if wasn’t for the British, there wouldn’t be America. So what’s your point? I agree not everyone is the same, but there are overwhelming sentiments running through most races/castes/religious/countries, that’s what stereotypes are built open. Those that typify America and Americans are traits I abhor, I apologise but I can’t help that, that’s me. I have American friends, there are some, no doubt. But most of the Americans I have met whilst travelling around the world (which I do frequently), have been loud, obnoxious, ignorant and blisfully uneducated. This is a whole other debate though 🙂 Apologies if I offend you.
muteaudio: Definately have to look out for that.
rkaru: That’s a great idea, I think I’ll probably do that too.
A little Leon trivia here ST;
Leon promised Mathilda he would ‘clean them all up’, meaning he’s gonna kill all the bad guys. But 1 of Stansfield’s henchman didn’t get killed (at least not shown) in the movie, but in real life was killed in 911 (The WTC incident).
VC: The Uncut Version scenes;
1h10 – 1h13 russian roulette
1h13 – 1h14 Leon & Mathilda met Tony
1h14 – 1h18 first client (Robert Lasardo)
1h18 – 1h20 restaurant, champagne
1h20 – 1h23 chewing gums & doorbells
1h25 – 1h29 Mathilda home alone
1h38 – 1h43 pink dress, sharing the bed
(courtesy of knobobl, from a discussion group)
Oh by the way, if I may add… the last one where they were sharing the bed, Mathilda was asking questions about sex and making Leon very uncomfortable.
Still sore about losing the war, are we? (See? THAT’s stereotyping. I’m sure it’s not true, is it? But it doesn’t mean you like it.) I, for one, am glad the colonists decided to fight the system but that’s a whole other debate. It’s true that there’s a grain of truth in every stereotype. But when you develop hate or abhorrence for a country and its people based on a stereotype, that’s just plain stupid. It’s also a little dumb to think that because you met SOME Americans you disliked while traveling (I’m sure you do frequently, as do I), ALL Americans must be like that. Hmm… I mean, if that were true, then all Brits must be class obsessed, big nosed, fox chasing, binge drinking, Irish haters with no sense of humor and who are bad in bed and live in a country with no good food on the menus? Does all of that describe you? My point is: When you stop seeing individuals as individuals and you group everyone together based on things you’ve HEARD or were taught as a child, that’s when prejudice begins. I’m sorry, but I happen to still think that prejudice is wrong. It turns easily into hate and that’s never cool. 🙂 Apologies if I offend you.
rkaru: That would be Keith A. Glascoe “Benny” in the movie. Thanks for the list of cuts, I had a feeling it would be those scenes, but not the meeting with Tony or the chewing gum? Don’t see what was wrong with those.
Blinkyboo: Sore? Nah quite glad we gave it back to you guys 😉 Stereotyping is ok, I don’t mind it, it’s based on truth, we have bland food, bad teeth (big noses? thought that was a Jewish thing..), we do hunt foxes etc. I don’t hate the Irish though as I’m from Gaelic stock myself. My abhorrence is not based on stereotypes, it’s based on the people I meet and the way America as a counry and political power projects itself (commercial, not environmentally friendly, bullying etc etc). I also base it on the levels of obesity in America, the sue everyone when I make a mistake culture, the food, the quality of the TV shows, the understanding of Irony (or lack of), the lack of satire etc etc etc. I’m certainly not grouping the whole of America together, as I said I have SOME good American friends. I still think hating fat people is cool 😉 Don’t worry say anything I won’t be offended.
OK. I’m laying off this subject even though I do disagree with what you said. I didn’t set out to change you, just voicing my opinion. But you said: “I still think hating fat people is cool ;)” That’s actually the last comment I would expect from you; because, no offence, but from your pictures, you look kinda fat yourself. You definitely eat like a fat person. Sorry, I wouldn’t have brought this up if it weren’t for the comment you made. Hmm… Tally Ho!
I just happened to see Leon ,today.And it touched my heart indeed!The sound-track was AWE-SOME!And the feeling between Leon ‘n the gal.The critics at points called their “love” -Father ‘n Daughter ! But this was not the impression the movie gave me! I felt the luv between two lovers ,coz 12 or 13 year-old girls are in the verge of seeking an idol ‘n in Mathilda’s case,she loves the guy as a LOVER not her “PAPA”.And I am sure Leon had the same feeling in his heart!If someone has studied Virginia Woolf’s works or Marcel Proust’s s/he would know how the feelings work in our hidden-suppressed parts of our personality.So,the kinna luv between Leon and the gal indeed impressed me.And my heart beated along with Mathilda in Leon’s Love!!!!Don’t you think so?!Was it love or just parental luv?let me know if i am wrong.Thankx. I am GONNA add the movie to my collection.It brought tears to my eyes…
Scarlette: Glad you enjoyed the movie, it is fantastic and definately one of my all time favourites. It’s definately not father daughter love haha, I mean I think Leon loves her like a father, but it’s definately not the other way round. Mathilda wants Leon as a lover for sure, especially if you watch the uncut version.