44. Léon (1994)

Date First Watched: 3/09/2006
Date Last Watched: 2/07/2010
# Viewings: 4

One thing that seems to be bothering me A LOT these days is melodrama and cheesiness, like seriously annoying me and I can’t stop noticing it. It never used to bother me much, but now it’s just always there. Anyway, I noticed it here quite a bit. I really love this film, and overall it comes together and works, so I was annoyed to keep getting pulled out of the film because of some really annoying music and dialogue.

For example, the scene where Mathilda first speaks to Leon when she’s having the cigarette. And when Mathilda says she wants to be a cleaner and that whole business. It starts off pretty good otherwise, it’s very dark and immediately introduces a villain you can hate, a hero you can root for and a likable and sympathetic protagonist. But then the tone keeps changing and it gets too light at times, especially with regards to Mathilda wanting to become a cleaner. She’s clearly out of her depth and they kind of bombard you with this fact using her misguided love for Leon, but the parallels between her as a confused child and the darkness of the life Leon leads aren’t as contrasting as they really needed to be. It doesn’t really make sense and isn’t particularly convincing. I think it focuses too much on being accessible to a general audience and gets too easy and comfy at times.

I always loved Portman’s performance, but it seemed weaker to me this time around. It’s not that she’s necessarily bad, but some of the key moments in developing her character are unconvincing. Jean Reno is still fantastic, I think he’s perfect for the role (I also just love his character). With the wrong actor in that role, it would’ve come across as weird and creepy and pervy. I always thought Gary Oldman overacted, but it fits his character.

The beginning and ending are definitely the strongest parts of the film; the beginning is really intense, the ending is just devastatingly depressing. But the middle is a little bit uneven.

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