Action movies isn’t normally a genre I’m drawn to. I suppose I’m a little bit too squishy and most of the time the violence in them just makes me feel sick. But Léon blew my mind. Yes, there IS a lot of killing going on and a tremendous amount of blood, but oh, it’s pretty, sooo pretty and well done. Every single camera shot is there for a reason, composed with care and thinking, as far as I can tell. You wouldn’t believe this movie actually is 17 years old.
It isn’t just the looks that makes this movie brilliant, it also rests safely on the wonderful performances of the main actors Jean Reno, as the professional killer, a very young Natalie Portman as the girl who befriends him, and Gary Oldman as a tremendously creepy villain.
It was only one little thing that bothered me, and I suspect it has to do with the fact that I’m the mother of two daughters myself, which might make me more receptive for this. I simply don’t like when you sexualize 12-year-old girls on the screen, giving them a Lolita aura and dressing them in challenging clothes. Actually I’ve understood that the previews of the movie had this sort of reactions in US, which made Besson cut it a bit to make it more acceptable. And I think it was this censored version I saw, but there were some sequences lingering in it that… well… didn’t exactly cross the line to me but were a little bit too close. I wish the girl could have remained just a girl, seeing Léon as a father figure rather than as a potential lover. Like the heroine of True Grit. But again, maybe it’s just the mother in me speaking there.
However apart from this remark, as a whole, I loved it and it was a great reminder to me how many wonderful movies from the past that I’ve yet to see. There’s no need pay to see crappy superhero blockbusters of 2011. My “to-see-one-day” list is not only long, but also full of high quality films, which won’t cost me a dime (I found this one in a bookshelf of my mother’s), only a little bit of attention.
Léon (Besson, 1994) My rating: 4,5/5