Thursday, 20 June 2013
Leon: The Professional
Just want to take a few minutes of your time to talk about Luc Besson's film Leon, and recommend it most heartily. I'd heard it was about an assassin and, when coupling that with the moody red and black close-up picture of Leon's face on the front of the DVD case, I thought the film was going to be an uncompromisingly gritty, bloody action-fest. I was pleasantly surprised at the actuality. I have a heart of stone, as anyone who knows me can testify, but at the core of the story is a very touching partnership between Jean Reno's titular man and Natalie Portman's character Mathilda. She is orphaned and essentially has her life saved by the apparently emotionless killer, so you've got to feel the heart strings being tugged.
The guy doing the orphaning, by the way, is Gary Oldman, who gives another good performance amongst many as Stansfield, the psychotically-charged corrupt cop (this a link to one of his more iconic scenes. I'm including it to try and curry favour with the young popular modern kids). That's another thing, though the relationships in the film are engaging, the overall theme of the underdog against the establishment is absolutely timeless and resonant. Stansfield is a villain because of what he does, but also what he represents.
While I was watching it I did have the concern that some cliches might be evident. The first example is the montage of Leon about his residence, caring for his plant etc. It seemed like a bit of a lazy way to set up character in the 'status quo' part of the film. As usual I was just being picky and I have to admit that the scene did indeed make me feel for the main character and care what happens to him.
So the acting's good, the ideas are good, but also the elements of humour are well placed, some of the camera shots are pleasing and the writing is generally economic. It was just a bloody good film, it was a genuine shame it had to end I was enjoying being in their world so much.
All that's left for me is to say thanks to Nova (writer over at Le Cafe Du Jour) who recommended the film to me, and for me to tell you to go watch it: go watch it.