Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I just watched Leon for the first time. It's a brilliant film. The surprisingly brief periods of action are sharp enough to keep you on your toes for the entire rest of the film. Its central character is similar to that of Theo in Children of Men (easily the best film of 2006, get it on DVD) in that the hero's caring side is what makes him heroic. It isn't quite as clearcut because Leon is, of course, an accomplished assassin and there isn't an equivalent to the subtle scenes where even cats and dogs can perceive that Theo is a friend but one never gets the impression that violence is what makes Leon heroic. Again, my loathing for that film forces me to highlight the difference to V for Vendetta with a 'hero' who tortures the heroine; it's okay though because he manages to indoctrinate her into fighting the fascists.

My main complaint is that the bad guy was such a cardboard cut out. While it didn't do the film too much harm and allowed for a greater focus on the central relationship between Leon and Mathilda it still seems a shame they couldn't make him a rather more honest character as it would have meant the film didn't have to compromise its emotional quality when he was in the room. Despite this Oldman is still excellent with the crazy role given to him and is, at times, genuinely threatening.

Finally, it has to be noted that the film is improved by Natalie Portman's subsequent career. It makes the aged quality of her character all the more disturbing as you can so easily imagine an adult her in the child's place.

If you haven't seen this film already then make time.

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