Monday, March 08, 2010


I recently bought the Director's Cut of Leon as my wife had said she'd never seen the original film. So Saturday night we settled down on the sofa together to watch it.

The Director's Cut illustrated to me how the introduction of two or three scenes can alter the feel of a whole movie. The original cinema release was a sweet movie of love and revenge, with two loners finding comfort and friendship in each other's company. Jean Reno's shy Leon learns to open himself up to his feelings with the help of Natalie Portman's Matilda. His journey from an emotionally closed hermit to the father figure and protector Matilda has never had, is slowly and expertly built, and watching Leon get over his initial awkwardness to finally give up his life in the ultimate sacrifice for the girl he loves is nothing short of superb.

However, the Director's Cut turned that sweet tale of love into something much more sexual, a much darker story of obsession, with a higher degree of sexual tension between Leon and Matilda. While he sees her as a daughter his feelings grow in a way he can't and won't allow himself to give into, and Matilda is always more of a temptress than in the original cut. Her obsession and crush on Leon, make you feel awkward while watching this burgeoning love affair which is doomed before it starts, because you know that it can never be, and will only end badly.

Is it a better film? I have to admit I prefer the original, but the Director's cut does bring that extra sense of darkness and infatuation to the proceedings which left me wondering if I had seen this version originally would I have loved the film so much? Both versions have equal merit, but I feel that the original was the sweeter love story, the more of a love born from loneliness and friendship than sexual feelings of consenting adults. I personally think it's a step too far for the character of Matilda, even if they both do end up offering everything to each other in the name of love.

Anyway, don't take my word for it go and buy the Director's Cut and make your own mind up.

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