Leon - (Import Blu-ray Disc)
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Jason, Bellville. 13 September 2010
The director's cut of this movie adds to the experience very nicely in that it shows how Leon and Matilda gradually warm up to one another, which makes the ending all the more saddening. The acting is topnotch all round, particularly from the leads: Jean Reno deadpans as the emotionless Leon; Natalie Portman is just a bit creepy in portraying Matilda as a manipulative coquette; and Gary Olman attacks his scenes with knife and fork at the ready. The supporting cast also do their bit in providing effective foils from which the leads can work, whether engaging them in dialogue or watching incredulously as they are used as a lesson in shot placement. Luc Besson, like any director, has had his share of highs and lows. Leon represents a peak that even he himself would find difficult to top, in the same way when Michael Mann made Heat or The Wachowski Brothers made The Matrix.
The Blu-ray represents a worthy investment. Picture especially is much improved, with a more vivid colour palette and more visible details that add to the atmosphere. Sound is also an improvement, but don't expect the dynamics of a Hollywood actioner. The sound here revels in subtleties, with the occasional unexpected jolt reminding you how Leon can dish out death at any given time. Then there's Eric Serra's score, made more intimate and more atmospheric by the high-def treatment.
A heartfelt recommendation it is then.