Leon - Special Edition

Every once in a while you see something, read something, hear something that takes you back a few years and you start remembering all sorts of things in your life that seem to be from a different world; you were a different person, the world around you was completely different. The memory is so vivid that you even start remembering smells. That’s how I felt when I watched Leon again.

Leon (or as it was renamed in the US, The Professional) was released something over 10 years ago. I must have seen it a year or so after that. This was my first ever exposure to Luc Besson. I remember watching that movie and falling in love with every aspect of it. 10 years on I find that it lives up exceptionally well. Nothing looks dated, which is such an exceptional achievement in my opinion. This movie was probably the one movie that made me hunt down writer/directors before any other movie.

In case you haven’t seen it, go now and buy it, download it, rent it whatever, because you owe it to yourself to treat yourself to a classic. Story centers around Leon and Matilda. Leon is played by Jean Reno, Matilda is the 11 year old Natalie Portman. In the mix we’ve got Gary Oldman who very nearly steals the show, if it wasn’t for the exceptional acting by the two lead characters.

Set in New York, the story talks about the relationship a professional killer, or ‘Cleaner’ builds with an 11 year old girl as he trains her in the ways of the hired mafioso kill. We’ve got fantastic characters, corrupt cops, classic performances, and killer (no pun intended) action scenes. Not spoiling anything, but the movie also ends with what is the BEST movie song ending EVER, (’Shape of my heart’ by Sting).

Now turn away because I’m going to start talking in detail about the movie. Consider this your SPOILER WARNING.

For those who haven’t seen the special edition, come closer while I tell you what you’ve been missing out on.

The special edition includes some seriously amazing additions.
I remember when in University, people knowing my affection to the movie would always tell me of deleted scenes that had sex scenes between Leon and Matilda. I’m here to tell you that in fact that is COMPLETE and UTTER BOLLOCKS.

The movie has several new scenes, some of which I can’t believe he removed from the final cut. I think it was M. Night Shyamalan who said that directors generally end up removing their best scene from the final cut, and I think the Russian Roulette scene is easily one of my favorites of the entire movie. I’ve just got this hunch that Luc Besson felt the same thing about that scene as well.

My one main gripe however is that the director/writer of this movie wasn’t involved in the production of this DVD. I find that exceptionally strange as it seemed like such a personal project.

Most of the actors were on call for some interviews. Notable exception of course is Gary Oldman, who at the time of the movie’s release was the only ’star’ in the credits. The movie obviously propelled everyone involved to another level, but Gary Oldman played the role in a manner no one else could come close to. I used to hear a lot of criticism that every single character that Oldman played was always over the top. In a way he was typecast, but at the same time in the best possible way. His Captain Gordon in Batman Begins was exceptional, his Dracula (which I’m not a fan of vampires) was brilliant, he was fantastic as the Devil in that 10minute movie directed by Tony Scott and Clive Owen in there. For my money however his role in Leon was him at his best.

If you were ever a fan of this movie, then it will be money well spent in getting this special edition version. It’s worth everything you pay for it and more.


  1. Ah re brutior!!!!!! Ti mou thimises twra!!!

    Great Movie. One that will remain in my heart and I will remember especially for the ending song. Perfect.

    1 Fadi Abou Alfa
  2. Great fucken movie as your brother mentioned!!! Being on the topic of movies I saw a movie yestererday that will probably remain in my thoughts and in my heart forever… a story of two friends ( one a doctor, one almost a doctor) who decide to travel around South-America. Starting from Argentina on a semi wrecked motor-bike the story unfolds the SENSITIVITY, HUMAN TOUCH, INTELLIGENCE, SADNESS, ANGER, FURY and RAGE that ultimately triggered the birth of one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time: Ernesto Che Guevara.

    So Khaled… in our mutual respect for this remarkable Man… and our love for the band RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE… I take the liberty of putting a poem on your website that was written by Allen Ginsberg, recited by Zack De La Rocha (and RATM), and dedicated by US to this hero:


    It had to be flashin’ like the daily double
    It had to be playin’ on TV
    It had to be loud mouthed on the comedy hour
    It had to be announced over loud speakers

    The CIA and the Mafia are in cahoots

    It had to be said in old ladies’ language
    It had to be said in American headlines
    Kennedy stretched and smiled and got double crossed by lowlife goons and agents
    Rich bankers with criminal connections
    Dope pushers in CIA working with dope pushers from Cuba working with a
    big time syndicate from Tampa, Florida
    And it had to be said with a big mouth

    It had to be moaned over factory foghorns
    It had to be chattered on car radio news broadcasts
    It had to be screamed in the kitchen
    It had to be yelled in the basement where uncles were fighting

    It had to be howled on the streets by newsboys to bus conductors
    It had to be foghorned into New York harbor
    It had to echo onto hard hats
    It had to turn up the volume in university ballrooms

    It had to be written in library books, footnoted
    It had to be in the headlines of the Times and Le Monde
    It had to be barked on TV
    It had to be heard in alleys through ballroom doors

    It had to be played on wire services
    It had to be bells ringing
    Comedians stopped dead in the middle of a joke in Las Vegas

    It had to be FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Costello syndicate
    mouthpiece meeting in Central Park, New York weekends,
    reported Time magazine

    It had to be the Mafia and the CIA together starting war on Cuba,
    Bay of Pigs and poison assassination headlines

    It had to be dope cops in the Mafia
    Who sold all their heroin in America

    It had to be the FBI and organized crime working together
    in cahoots against the commies

    It had to be ringing on multinational cash registers
    A world-wide laundry for organized criminal money

    It had to be the CIA and the Mafia and the FBI together
    They were bigger than Nixon
    And they were bigger than war

    It had to be a large room full of murder
    It had to be a mounted ass- a solid mass of rage
    A red hot pen
    A scream in the back of the throat

    It had to be a kid that can breathe
    It had to be in Rockefellers’ mouth
    It had to be central intelligence, the family, allofthis, the agency Mafia
    It had to be organized crime

    One big set of gangs working together in cahoots

    Murderers everywhere

    The secret
    The drunk
    The brutal
    The dirty rich

    On top of a slag heap of prisons
    Industrial cancer
    Plutonium smog
    Garbage cities

    Grandmas’ bed soft from fathers’ resentment

    It had to be the rulers
    They wanted law and order
    And they got rich on wanting protection for the status quo

    They wanted junkies
    They wanted Attica
    They wanted Kent State
    They wanted war in Indochina

    It had to be the CIA and the Mafia and the FBI

    Multinational capitalists
    Strong armed squads
    Private detective agencies for the rich
    And their armies and navies and their air force bombing planes

    It had to be capitalism
    The vortex of this rage
    This competition
    Man to man

    The horses head in a capitalists’ bed
    The Cuban turf
    It rumbles in hitmen
    And gang wars across oceans

    Bombing Cambodia settled the score when Soviet pilots
    manned Egyptian fighter planes

    Chiles’ red democracy
    Bumped off with White House pots and pans

    A warning to Mediterranean governments

    The secret police have been embraced for decades

    The NKPD and CIA keep each other’s secrets
    The OGBU and DIA never hit their own
    The KGB and the FBI are one mind

    Brute force and full of money
    Brute force, world-wide, and full of money
    Brute force, world-wide, and full of money
    Brute force, world-wide, and full of money
    Brute force, world-wide, and full of money

    It had to be rich and it had to be powerful
    They had to murder in Indonesia 500000
    They had to murder in Indochina 2000000
    They had to murder in Czechoslovakia
    They had to murder in Chile
    They had to murder in Russia

    And they had to murder in America

    2 Stahis
  3. Ah, Leon.

    Back in the day (about 6 months ago) I picked up Leon from Amazon.co.uk - on sale, of course - and was stunned. Advised by a few distant friends that it was “the film” to watch - looking for some more Jean Reno, for ‘e is Frech, like me - after Ronin, and was stunned. Especially by Natalie Portman, at 13, who, albeit not so great in the appauling Star Wars: 3 (aaah, [out pops baby] Portman: Leah! [out pops baby #2] Portman: Luke! Aaaah! [Portman dies - nobody cares. A few people in the audience laugh.]), has really come back to form in Garden State, which is nice.

    I have to mention that I believe that opening shot of Leon with the glass of milk, followed by the scene with the ahem fat businessman, is positively the best opening I’ve ever witnessed. And, it was also one of the elite few films that made me cry - Sting’s Shape of my Heart tipped me over the edge on that one - and on that note I’m so glad to see it being re-released, and celebrate for such.

    Kudos for the heads up.

    3 Alex Lindsay
  4. Not being a Sting fan, the ending song was just another song to me.

    That said, this is one of my favourite movies. A must-see. In case anyone is interested, Luc Besson was the writer (and producer too I think) for The Transporter, a good film (though not as good as Leon). And Transporter 2 comes out in September.

    4 Henning Hoffmann
  5. A classic in every single way; wonderful actors, a tremendous script but most importantly; the whole film was burnt into your consciousness by some fantastic direction.

    The beauty of the film was the subtleness of the whole affair which is why I think the american title “The Professional” does the film a discredit. The film was never really about an assassin; it was about the confused relationship that builds between two people as they find solace and completion in each other’s company.

    Despite their chaotic backgrounds, both Leon and Matilda are both innocents corrupted. Both are imprisoned by their past; both despite their exteriors are tragic victims until they find each other.

    BTW Khaled, has the special edition officially come out over here?

    5 If Else
  6. Phu, nah it’s not been released over here, officially that is. I got it from cd-wow as I do with a slew of movies that just haven’t been released over here (Hero being an excellent example)

    6 Khaled