Posted on 9/03/10 01:01 AM
Some say that this movie is too slow, some say it is violent, other say it displays a level of language that totally spoil the overall impression. I'd argue that "Léon" is an incredibly great movie.
The first thing nobody can deny is the quality of the performance of Natalie Portman. We have to keep in mind that this is her first appearance in a movie and that she is only 11. She is already able to play with such intensity. During the casting, about six thousand other girls were auditioning for the role and she supplanted Liv Tyler and Christina Ricci among others. Luc Besson claims that he had the feeling of having dicovered an "atomic bomb" (Interview of Luc Besson, in: Studio Ciné Live, No. 15, May 2010).
The second aspect of this movie that makes it a masterpiece is the relationship between Jean Reno and Natalie Portman, namely Léon and Matilda. It is really touching to see this savage, illiterate and cold-blooded brute progressively accepting tenderness and love. This change, this transformation is told to the audience in such a poetic way that it seems difficult not to admire the talent of the narrator.Indeed, Luc Besson is able to transform a violent and disturbing story into a beautiful and touching tale.
I really think that "Léon" is a masterpiece. Although it is violent, it conveys such an emotion that it is difficult to stay outside the movie. The audience is drawn in the action and cannot escape to witness and take part in the events related in the film. Moreover, I affirm that the violence is a necessary element of the movie. It creates a contrast between the aggressive environment in which Léon is used to evolve and the tenderness and the innocence of his relation with Matilda. At the end, the two universe clashes together and that the point where the spectator understands that Léon does not belong to the violent and senseless environment anymore. He wants to change his life, he wants to live. He is not led by death instinct, but rather by a vital energy which urges him to run away.
In conclusion, I'd say that "Léon" constitutes a great action movie that deals with theme such as drugs, corruption and criminality. It tells the fight of violence against tenderness, the constant clash between innocence and corruption. Luc Besson and his actors have created a poetic vision of the relation bewteen a brute and an innocent girl. It is touching, it is beautiful... it is art.