August 8, 2010
In 1994 writer/director Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Transporter) created this masterpiece. This 133 minutes award winning film, stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Natalie Portman (her first ever feature film debut). Leon the Professional as it is called has been re-released on DVD with many extra bonus’s and an extended director’s cut.
It’s 5AM Saturday morning and I remember watching this movie when I was in high school. I believe it was on television before the days of DVD. Here I am now blessed to have been given the chance to review the re-release of Leon the Professional on DVD plus it features an extended directors cut. Even though this film was made 16 years ago, it still stands up against any action film(s) of today.
The movie is about the relationship between Leon (played by Jean Reno) a professional killer or as he likes to refer to himself a “cleaner”, and street smart Matilda Lando (played by Natalie Portman) who is left an orphan after the brutal slaying of her parents and little brother by crooked drug addicted cop Norman “Stan” Stansfield (played by Gary Oldman).
Matilda then becomes Leon’s protégé and proceeds to learn the craft of “cleaning” in order to avenge the death of her family.
Writer and director Luc Besson’s style is very much similar to other French films, as he uses lots of wide angle shots with minimal camera movement to draw focus to the character(s). Many of the shots are like still images of each character(s), even though there are a lot of wide angle shots with the subjects doing nothing, he is able capture a lot of emotion and project the character’s personality.
The music in the film is simple yet effective. Besson is a genius at manipulating music and scoring it to drive the picture as he is heavily influenced by the music from classic french cinema. To variate the mood, he turns to the sounds of the New York streets. On top of that, during climax’s in the movie, he cleverly uses SFX and music scores inspired by 80′s action movies such as Commando and Red Scorpion.
The atmosphere is the most important part of any film and depending on how it is done, it can either make or break a movie. In this instance, Luc Besson has done well using the right colors and lighting to emphasize emotions during specific scenes. He also adds a bit of grit and dirt to bring out some raw emotion(s), which is very fitting for a film of it’s kind.
The opening scene definitely sets the pace of the movie. It depicts Leon at work, killing a few bad guys and i must say his actions do speak louder then words because from this one scene alone, we are able to understand the type of character Leon is.
As the movie progresses, you get to see how Leon and Matilda form a bond, much like Batman and Robin’s relationship. They feed off each other and assist each other where needed. A very good example is where as Matilda learns the secrets to being a professional killer, so does Leon, as he learns to read and write from his side kick. We also get to see daily developments as both Leon and Matilda learn to adjust to each others habits and ways of living. The intelligent, eccentric and very dangerous villain, Noman Stansfiled, on the other hand has less of a presence in the movie. Having said that, Gary Oldman’s performance definitely made it a memorable one for me and i am sure the audience would agree too.
See below for the original trailer:
We highly recommend you to own a copy of Leon the Professional as it is a true masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Great acting, lighting, style, character development and storyline, what more could you ever ask for?
FATKIDS RATING : 9 out of 10
You guys can get your copy of Leon The Professional here at Madman Entertainment