Léon: The Professional

Recently, I watched this video:

So today, when I had some time to myself, I thought, hey, why don’t I actually get around to clearing the backlog of films I want to watch? So Léon it was.

Gotta say, I loved the film. Luc Besson has worked on some terrible films, but also some good films, and this is definitely one of his best works. As much as I loved The Transporter or Taken, Léon trumps them all.

It’s probably not the most comfortable film to watch, given that it focuses on the somewhat dysfunctional relationship between a hitman and a little girl who wants revenge for her little brother, and is in love with said hitman whom she managed to convince into teaching her how to kill people. But it’s brilliant to see the actors at work, bringing the story to life.

The plot is simple, really. There’s not much to it. Rather, Léon is about its main characters. Jean Reno is wonderful as Leon, so very uncomfortable with social situations, living in paranoia, stuck in a lifeless routine, afraid of love. The young Natalie Portman is the precocious Mathilda, headstrong, independent, a little crazy and a little rebellious just like any teen with a tough background. Their strange relationship, created by strife, is touching yet wrong at the same time.

I also have no idea how Oscars have evaded Gary Oldman for so long. As Stansfield, he’s a menacing sociopath, never failing to add tension to any scene he’s dominating.

The score is also pretty good, managing to bring tension to the film. As does the film itself, with a great opening scene to establish Leon as a cleaner, and many more good scenes besides. Having watched the extended cut, there was quite a bit more of Leon and Mathilda working together on jobs, and it was fun to watch them work as some sort of dynamic duo of murder.

The ending was appropriately poignant yet forward-looking, which wrapped up a film of violence, murder, drugs, corruption and twisted love in a most elegant manner.

Now, if only Luc Besson could go back to these days…

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