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