Leon: The Professional
If you want a job done well, hire a professional.
Leon, the top hit man in New York, has earned a rep as an effective "cleaner." But when his next-door neighbors are wiped out by a loose-cannon DEA agent, he becomes the unwilling custodian of 12-year-old Mathilda. Before long, Mathilda's thoughts turn to revenge, and she considers following in Leon's footsteps.
This is, by some comfortable margin, Luc Besson’s best film. From the very start with his debut feature, The Last Battle, Besson demonstrated a strong visual sense but it is safe to say that both script and performances have often been a little lacking. Leon was the first and only time that his movies have excelled in all three departments. For the odd few who have yet to see the film it is about a friendship between a hitman (the Leon of the title) and a 12 year old girl whose parents were killed by a corrupt police officer.
Besson has a fascination with hired killers whether it is as a director (Nikita) or producer (Columbiana) and the one element…
For a short while, back in the early 90s, I think Léon was my favourite film of all time. I still think it's really rather splendid, too.
As I've mentioned before about some films that I love, there are some where you can well imagine why they might get on the tits of some people. Léon is definitely one of those films. It is an absolutely bonkers and sometimes completely unbelievable action and crime thriller with a central relationship that nudges unnervingly towards the disturbing for most of its second half, and containing a performance from Gary Oldman that is so unpredictably unhinged that you could easily genuinely worry for the safety of Natalie Portman during their showdown in the…
"I haven't got time FOR THIS MICKEY MOUSE BULLSHIT!"
From that opening shot, swooping down through the skyline of New York, whilst avoiding a lot of the tourist-y, cliched establishing shots, you can guess that this film is going to be nothing less than amazing.
And you'd be right.
You've got three excellent, although completely different, central performances ranging from Jean Reno's understated, almost mute, titular hitman who when not on the job, reverts back to a more innocent, almost childlike state. Then there's Natalie Portman's Matilda, who's the source of the majority of the movie's most disturbing moments. And of course Gary Oldman's pill-popping, deranged, unhinged corrupt DEA agent. All of which help to make this film something unique,…
I've always been a little reluctant to fully embrace Leon: The Professional, because when male movie geeks in their twenties and thirties start to wax rhapsodic about the relationship between Leon and Matilda, it gets kind of questionable. As moving as their relationship is, it's the ambiguous nature of it that makes The Professional more thematically complicated than an action-packed reworking of the premise of Cassavettes' Gloria. It's superb action filmmaking, of course, filtered through a European sensibility that allows for some of the rough edges that the Hollywood process would have surely sanded out. There's no way, in a Hollywood version of The Professional, that a four-year-old could get killed, or that Leon could be kind of a simpleton,…
March Mystery Challenge - Film #2 of 5
Nominated by: Emily
Just to note, I've seen this film a few times in the past but have only now found out there is an extended cut, so that is version I decided to watch. My memory of the original may be a little rusty but the additional scenes mainly just delve deeper into the relationship between Mathilda and Léon, so for this, and the fact that the additional 26 minutes do not hamper the pacing, I would recommend the extended version to first time viewers.
Okay, so... on rewatch what struck me straight away was how cartoonishly stylised Léon is. I always remembered it as some slick realistic action movie, but…
"I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoveen. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growing and you can hear the insects."
There are plenty of calm, quiet moments like that in this film that help add to the human drama, as well as high octane action that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome. The very complex relationship between Leon and Matilda is perfectly realized thanks to a great but subtle performance by Jean Reno and a terrfic breakout turn from a young Natalie Portman. As always, Gary Oldman steals the show with a phenomenal performance.…
I can scarcely believe that I have only just got around to watching this for the first time. Why did I not see it sooner!?
This is without doubt one of the best films I've ever seen! Absolutely glorious all round.
Leon is about the best hitman in the business who ends up looking after the 12 year old girl living next door when her family is killed. And so begins a pretty damn cool movie.
Leon is a film with great characters, great action, and great cinematography. I love the glimpse we get into the character of Leon. He isn't a normal person but he also isn't a cold, dead killer either. He likes house plants, milk, and Gene Kelly, so we do get some semblance of wanting a real life without being able to grasp it.
The relationship between Leon and the girl Matilda is the anchor to this film. It could have been ridiculously botched, but instead it…
Natalie Portman did a FANTASTIC job in this film at such a young age. She really pulled through and tried successfully to make her character look tough. It would be really interesting if we could have a 2nd movie with these two...
Among other reasons, I love this movie because it is totally gripping from the start. It gets more and more interesting and thrilling as the minutes pass by. The performances are superb: Gary Oldman, Jean Reno, Danny Aiello and the best of all was definitely Natalie Portman, who played a character that if it had been played by any other child actress very probably it would have been something completely ridiculous. Actually, with such an over-the-top and outlandish plot like that Léon would have been a mess in the hands of any other director or with a totally different cast. Luc Besson's work was magnificent. Excellent.
One of my all time favorite movies.
A movie that does what it wants.
(I watched the lengthier, European cute). I knew this film was well regarded, but was still surprised by just how damn entertaining it was. Leon is full of great action sequences, a good deal of violence, and it's funny. On top of that, the relationship between hitman Leon and the young, precocious Mathilde is one for the ages.
Even the things I can nitpick about the movie--in particular, the moral implications of putting a 12-year-old girl in the midst of such violence and sensuality--are still risky choices that I commend.
...or as I like to call it..."Homework". ;)
study in cool