Pampered pet rat Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman) may appear to live the life of luxury with his lavish Kensington home, gargantuan television and high class lifestyle, but his existence is lonely, and he craves companionship. When his owners leave him for a few days, his world is rocked by the arrival of loutish hooligan sewer rat Sid (Shane Richie), who takes over the house and ridicules Roddy’s way of life. Roddy’s plan to evict Sid – via the toilet bubble bath – goes awry, and results in Roddy being flushed instead, leaving him lost in the vast underworld of London’s sewage system, where he becomes intricated with Kate Winslet’s tomboyish Rita and a plot involving a royal ruby, a computer cable belt and a mysterious plot concocted by sewer mafia boss The Toad (Ian McKellen).
After the murder of her uncaring parents and innocent four year old brother at the hands of a pill-popping, Beethoven loving Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman’s 12-year old Matilda is taken in by her stoic, lonesome ’cleaner’ (a hitman to you and I) Leon. Leon’s skills as a contract killer are evidently impressive, shown early on by his one-man takedown of a drug dealer and his crew, disappearing into the shadows like the breath of a ninja, yet his skills as a human being and fully functioning member of society are less so, eking out a solitary existence with his milk laden fridge and beloved yucca plant. The introduction of Matilda into his life changes everything, as she requests training to avenge her brother’s death, in exchange becoming Leon’s assistant and tutor in reading and writing. Director Luc Besson shows a style and directorial flair seen previously in Nikita (where Jean Reno’s character first briefly appeared) as more recently in the decidedly more Hollywood-ised the Fifth Element (again featuring an intense, cackling turn from Oldman in villainous form).
Choose film 6/10