Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Léon the Professional .(Version intégrale aka Director's Cut )

I just finished reading Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club. Why am I writing about a book, in an article supposedly on the movie mentioned in the title ? You'll find out, if you watch the movie. So, in the book a medical school dropout visits restaurants and deliberately chokes on food so that someone can rescue him. After that, the person who has saved him feels personally responsible for him, and sends him cash. This is how he lives. Now the "personally responsible to the life you just saved" bit is from a Chinese saying. So anyway in Leon, Leon played by Jean Reno saves the life of Matilda played by a very young Natalie Portman while the rest of her family is gunned down.
Portman is, in my opinion one of the most beautiful women in the world. I mean now, that she is all grown up. In the movie, Portman's character is way too mature for her age, a little like Dakota Fanning. I get scared when I hear her speak like a grownup. They are not yet adults but the range of emotions that they can effectively portray would put most adults on Indian television\Cinema to shame.
The movie is basically French in nature as it is directed by Luc Besson, hence the Liberal and relaxed attitude I found through out, It would be very disturbing for people who are not used to these kinds of films. I have seen Takashi Miike's Bizita Q, Lynch's: Mullholland Dr., Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, Ruggero Deodata's Cannibal holocaust, and the list goes on, yet there were some (one or two) scenes where I didn't know what to do with my hands, so you get the point. But don't get me wrong, I loved it. It was poignant, made me think, and was wonderfully entertaining. I will watch it again as it is a good use of 2 hours of your life. Which is more than what you can say about most classes in college or visits to a temple\Place of worship. A word of advice: If you are the squeamish kind, you could try to avoid the Version intégrale aka Director's cut version which has footage in addition to what was released in the US.

Jean Reno is brilliant as always, as the emotionally detached hit man, who cares more about his Pet Plant than the humans he kills, he plays by the rules but is ruthless in that he feels no sympathy for the lives he extinguishes.
Natalie as Matilda is good too. She plays the matured too soon, too big for her shoes, street smart, yet nihilistic little girl with only revenge on her mind very well.
Gary Oldman is a beethoven listening, drug ingesting, corrupt DEA official and is scary because he does a pretty accurate portrayal of his character.

What I look for in a movie are these:

1) Well rounded, believable characters
2) A coherent Story preferably with a twist although that is not a necessity, However there shouldn't be any holes in the logic.
3) The mood, The right mood which will let me believe what I see is real, that in the meta-physical level where the story takes place, there could be a whole reality which might arguably think that it is the only one.

And as may be inferred from the tone of the article this movie has all of this. A must watch. Highly recommended.
I hear there is a Hindi remake of this, movie which I will try to watch now, not in the hope of finding a good remake but to see how it has been butchered and dumbed down, because I am sure that is what they would have done.

A Poekilocerus Pictus(Grasshopper) that I photographed at home. This particular kind eats milkweed so it is poisonous, and hence the coloring is a warning to potential prey.

"Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent." (Viola 1.2.53-55)Twelfth Night)
- William Shakespeare

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