Integral version (R2 Japanese DVD)
I’ve just sat down and re-watched Leon. I always remembered it being an excellent movie, but I think I must have forgotten exactly how remarkable it truly is. This is by far Luc Besson’s finest movie. It takes may aspect of Nikita, including Jean Reno as a “cleaner” and builds upon them, adding both depth and style. Natalie Portman is also stunning in her debut role, showing how fine an actress she is even at such a young age.
This version is the extended version which was release theatrically only in France and is approximately 25 minutes longer than the original cut. The additional scenes intensify the relationship between Leon and Mathilda, as Leon introduces her to her first hits as a hitman and also wines and dines her. I can the reasons why they may have been cut from the original cut as the Lolita style relationship (although never developed) and introduction to violence for such a young child may have been a little too much for American audiences. However, in my opinion they just add to an already fantastic film.
I had to get this version of the film imported from Japan, which is also region 2. However, after looking on the internet, I note that this version of the film has now recently been released in America.
I have heard rumours over the last couple of year about a potential sequel to this film, focusing on a grown up Mathilda. If Luc Besson managed to up his game and get back into gear (his films following Leon have been a bit of a disappointment), then this could be a fantastic prospect.