One of the greatest actors in this day and age would have to be Gary Oldman in my opinion. He has brought such a variety of characters as well as so many different looks that he can easily be lost in the shuffle as we think more about the character than the man who brought that character to life. Well Mr. Oldman has also brought us many memorable villains. But today we look at Norman Stansfield. The extremely corrupt DEA agent in the film Leon or Leon: The Professional.
This is such a great movie. The cast is incredible. Jean Reno is brilliant as the professional assassin who has zero social skills. We got to see the makings of greatness in a 13 year old Natalie Portman. And of course we get to see Gary Oldman at his psychotic best.
This character seems over the top when you first watch it but then you realize this guy is just extremely too intense to live. With all the drugs and stress he has, he should be dead of a heart attack at 23 years old. Yet here he is. Gary Oldman’s character murders a girl’s family, unaware that she has stepped out to do some groceries. Even kills her little brother. This girl (Portman) gets home and bypasses her apartment when she realizes what has happened and heads straight to Leon’s door. After some stressful moments thinking he will not open the door, Leon let’s her in. This is where the story really gets going as Mathilda (Portman) wants to learn how to be a “Cleaner” which is what an assassin is called in this film. Wishing to avenge her family, Mathilda begs until Leon agrees.
But the person she wishes to kill is the psycho cop Norman Stansfield. This character not has no remorse, but thrives on misery. One of the greatest lines in this movie that sum up Oldman’s character is in what he say to Mathilda which is, “Do you like life, sweetheart?” he begins. “That’s good, because I take no pleasure in taking life if it’s from a person who doesn’t care about it.”
There are few actors who could create such an over the top persona and yet still make it believable. This is Oldman’s gift and it shines in this film. He makes it very easy to hate him, with almost no effort. Just in the way he treats any human around him. He is awful. Which is why he is so great.