What can you say about a film that has as its main character a man whose best friend is a houseplant and takes under his wing a 12-year-old orphan and teaches her the intricacies of ‘cleaning’? Think Luc Besson at his violent best, think La Femme Nikita (1990) and the role Jean Reno played in that film, move the location to New York where Reno plays the American based equivalent of Victor – Leone ‘Leon’ Montana a professional hit man, a job generally referred to in the trade as a ‘cleaner’, but one with ethics, he refuses to kill women and children.
|....and his Apprentice.|
Here we have an English language French relationship drama between a sad eyed lonely hit man and a 12 year, played in her feature film debut by the young Natalie Portman, who wants nothing more than to avenge her 4 year old brother’s death at the hands of the psychotic killer Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) one of cinema’s great villains. It’s when Stansfield, a very bent police officer, visits Mathilda’s family apartment to resolve a problem with some missing drugs that he and his men kill her father, stepmother and sister, and her wee brother during a particularly bloody confrontation. The only reason she is not in at the time of the visit is that she is out shopping. On her return she continues past her flat, that is now full of bodies and gunmen, to Leon’s apartment on the same floor, after some debate he lets her in and consequently saves her life and changes his.
Luc Besson wrote and directed Leon (1994) as an affecting comic book type fantasy crime thriller where every body involved is in top filmic form. This movie that has lost none of its appeal since its original release over the 20 year’s ago. I can’t imagine that most film lovers would have never have seen the film but I can assure you that this riveting action movie is well worth your revisit.