I remember watching this film as a kid and being blown away by how awesome it is. From the action, the characters and the chemistry between Leon and Mathilda it was just all so darn memorable and cool. Sure, the relationship between an adult hit-man and a 12 year old girl may sound like it's messed up. But Luc Besson makes the whole thing work by making the hit-man Leon to be so darn likable, professional and yet naive. This is the role that Jean Reno will be known for throughout his acting career. He plays this secluded, introverted and yet sensitive hit-man who is very likable for a hit-man. Maybe because of his naive personality and how he doesn't live a rich and fulfilled lifestyle because of what he does. Maybe it's because Leon is a character that has certain codes and rules that he abides by. And for a hit-man he has some integrity and compassion. Some of it comes from Jean Reno's personal idea to make his character a bit mentally slow when it comes to things that didn't involve killing. This movie was a big hit in Asian countries, especially in japan. And a some Japanese movies, anime and manga tried to emulate some elements from this film. The ideas about the character Leon and his relationship with Mathilda came about because of Luc Besson's personal relationship with a teenage girl who is much younger than he is. Even Gary Oldman puts on a very memorable performance as a corrupt cop. His performance might be a bit over the top, but it stuck with me and it works when it comes to the context of this film. This is Oldman's performance I mostly remember him for despite him being a great actor. It's close the the performance level of Denzel Washington from "Training Day". This is even the performance that made Natalie Portman who played Mathilda into a star. Again it's the performance I remember this actress the most for. She brings about a lot of raw emotions for a very young actress. The first door scene where she is trying to get inside Leon's apartment by saying "please" made me feel for her character. In another words, overall this is the film that I remember all three actors for the most. Mix that in with one of the best script that Luc Besson has written so far and you got one of the best movies from the 90's. What made this film very lasting, impactful and memorable for me wasn't just because of the cool style of it all. And because of the relationship between Leon and Mathilda. But because it has one of the best ending I have ever seen in film. It's explosive figurative and literally when it comes to Leon's final mission. Overall, this is a brilliant film with marvelous acting, characters and direction. This is part action movie, part revenge movie and part controversial romance movie that doesn't take it too far. While having a bit of artistic ambiance to it without it being pretentious. I personally think of this film as a masterpiece.
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