Leon (Besson, 1994)

Leon Poster

“Is life always this hard, or is it just when you’re a kid? Every child has must of said this at least once in their life, whether it be about school or getting a ‘telling off’ from a parent. In Leon however, when a 12 year old child says it, it’s because her dad has just punched her in the face and her nose is bleeding. Hearing those words at the beginning of the film makes it more intense and you can feel your heart-strings being pulled already. Leon is similar to Man on Fire; as yet again it is a child that gives an assassin the will to love. Leon (played by Jean Reno) is socially awkward and when the whirlwind of Mathilda (played by Natalie Portman) enters his life one day, he teaches her the only thing he knows:  the art of killing.

How to use a sniper

How to use a sniper

“I take no pleasure in taking life if it’s from a person who doesn’t care about it.” Luc Besson has once again made a film in which a woman wields a gun which seems to be a consistent theme e.g. Nikita, The Fifth Element. For being such a dark film, the surroundings are surprisingly quite homely & colourful – the park scene, the training scenes; just the overall feel of the film. This is quite the contrast as the viewer knows that what we are watching is not meant to be glorified, especially the relationship between Leon & Mathilda. As Mathilda hasn’t had the best father figure in the world, she seems to uphold Leon in high esteem and develops feelings that she thinks is love for him as he is the first male to be kind to her. Leon loves her in his own special way, especially as she has given him a new take on life.

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

“If you saved my life, you must have saved it for a good reason.” Leon doesn’t actually cry but the emotion-filled scene when he sending Mathilda away to live another day instead of dying with him is pretty intense. We can feel how attached he has become to her and all he wants for her now is to have a normal life and I sense that he is returning the favour: saving her life like she did for him. We feel an attachment to Leon as we watch him watch old classics by himself, giving his plant all the care & attention in the world. All the actors perform brilliantly at their roles; most especially Gary Oldman (who played Stansfield) gets all the quirks and facial expressions of a mad, corrupt cop down to a tee.

Leon is another drama/thriller film where we don’t expect the main protagonist to have such deep feelings inside them. An explosion 110 minutes of how love changes everyone, even men who kill for a living.

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