Blu-ray Review: LEON

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: Nov 17, 2009
MSRP: $24.95

Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman

Quick disclaimer: I am a Hyoooge fan of Leon: The Professional. If it has any flaws, I sure as hell have not noticed them.

Leon (Jean Reno) is a quiet, lonely contract killer in New York city. He is a true master, able to slip in and out of places without drawing attention. His life is a fairly simple one.

One day, in a drug deal gone bad, the family living next to him is murdered. Leon suddenly finds twelve year-old Matilda (Natalie Portman), the lone survivor, at his door. Before he knows it, she has worked her way into his apartment. She looks to him to train her in his craft so that she can avenge her family. Knowing that turning her out onto the streets would be a death sentence, he reluctantly lets her into his home and his life.

Leon may sound like a simple action film, but it is also quite moving. Matilda and Leon develop a bond. He teaches her the craft and she teaches him how to feel and express himself. Years of solitary existence has left him cut off from the world around him. Matilda’s presence does not really warm his heart, but rather help him get in touch with it again. The bond between the two is touching and, at times, slightly uncomfortable. . Jean does a nice job, making a killer sympathetic. Portman is utterly amazing here. That she did not get an Oscar nomination is a true crime.

Gary Oldman plays agent Stansfield, a corrupt corrupt that in entrenched in the very part of society that he is supposed to be pursuing. It is he that Matilda is looking to kill. Obviously he wants her dead as well. Oldman does a hell of a job here as well. He is pure and total scum. You don’t simply want him dead, you want to chopped up into itty bitty pieces and buried alive! (Quote from HEAVY METAL). Over the top does not begin to describe Oldman’s performance. He is crazy, but it never seems forced. One would have no trouble believing that Oldman has a screw loose.

Luc Besson does an amazing job directing. Not only is LEON a wonderful story, it is visually powerful as well. The camera work adds tension to some scenes and tenderness to others. The look and style is unique and helps make this a truly great film.

Video:
LEON is presented in 1080p, with a ratio of 2.35.1. Part of the magic of LEON is the cinematography. The film has always had a distinct look, but seeing it in HD is something special. The colors of Matilda’s wardrobe are vibrant and bold. The city shots are powerful and really show off the details of NYC. Even Leon’s plant looks great! The details of the leaves stand out. There is some grain, but not too much. Certainly not enough to detract from the film.

Audio:
There are DTS-HD 5.1 tracks for English, Portuguese and French. The sound is good, the dialogue is always clear. The sounds of the city come alive throughout the speakers and the bullets and explosions rock. The film makes full use of lossless track and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Subtitles are provided for English, English SDH, French, Portugues and Spanish.

Bottom line is that LEON a great film with damn good cinematography. Sony has done a nice job transfering and upgrading it to BD. So now you have a great, visually dynamic film that looks fantastic. Pick a copy now!

Order LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL on Blu-ray.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.