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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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Retro Review
Movies
stainsteelrat
Léon (1994). Written and directed by Luc Besson. Set in New York, the story initially features Léon (Jean Reno), a professional hitman. Léon is hired by one drug gang to persuade another to stop impinging on their business, and he sets off wiping out the gang with clinical precision until he reaches the top man, who he suitably persuades. Léon's neighbours are a family, with a father who is holding drugs for corrupt DEA detectives, headed up by Stansfield (Gary Oldman). Said father has cut the drugs he is holding, and the detectives discover this, and slaughter the family during an attempt to try and recover the drugs. One family member escapes, his daughter Mathilda (Natalie Portman), by pretending that she lives with Léon. So Léon is left with the problem of what to do with her. I don't remember when I first watched Léon, but it would have been around the mid-90s when it was released on DVD, hence this is a retro review. The film has stuck with me though as one of my favourites. The central story is quirky and unusual, to say the least, but is laced with atmosphere and draws you in. Jean Reno plays one of if not his finest role, and although Natalie Portman borders on the obnoxious at times (the inherent problem with a child actor, although you could argue it was part of the role) she is more or less the perfect foil for Reno, and the scenes between them are beautiful and charming at times. Oldman is also superb, and frightening as heck. Besson was clearly at the top of his game, and it is exquisitely filmed. Eric Serra provides a rich soundtrack that varies from the delicate to the epic. Léon is not mainstream, but still strongly recommended for any fan of suspense and story, although not the sensitive. I also recommend you watch the so called "Long Version". 5/5 (Excellent)

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love this film. Love Jean Reno

I can't disagree :-) Have you seen The Big Blue?

No I haven't, I think I should :0)

It's very different to Léon, and somewhat bonkers, but personally I love it to bits. If we ever manage to meet you are more than welcome to watch it here :-)

Was this the first time you'd seen it?

I watched 22 Bullets a few weeks back which was very good.

"I don't remember when I first watched Léon, but it would have been around the mid-90s when it was released on DVD, hence this is a retro review."

Not heard of 22 Bullets. Reviews at Rotten Tomatoes aren't great, but I'll try anything with Reno once. Thanks for the tip!

You don't expect me to read the middle of a review, do you? Everyone knows you read the score, the first sentence and the last sentence in that order ;)

Only caveat is that it's subtitled and I know you've said that can be a problem.


Strange, I don't remember mentioning subtitles are a problem. I do like a lot of foreign films, and sort of got used to them living abroad. I do prefer a dub, but it has to be a good one.

I seem to remember you'd disliked Låt den rätte komma in due to the Swedish audio but liked the remake. Either way 22 Bullets is worth a watch.

By the way I wasn't implying any negative connotations about you with my misunderstanding about you and subtitled films. There's some that I don't get on with since the audio and text seem entirely divorced and I end up fixating on the subtitles and don't watch what's happening on screen.

Now that I think about it everyone I know who's married to a bilingual spouse tends to enjoy foreign/subtitled films and world cinema for obvious reasons.

I'd also highly recommend Flammen & Citronen.

LOL, well there's a classic film snobbery thing of putting down people who don't like subtitles. As you picked up on, having lived abroad I've seen a fair bit of subtitles. I don't mind them at all, although they do detract a little from what's going on. I prefer a decent audio dub, but those are rarely available.

I don't remember mentioning anything about Let the Right One In - at least I can't spot it on my review. I just didn't enjoy the Swedish version a great deal, but that was down to not connecting with the atmosphere.

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