Léon (1994)

leon_1994_poster
Léon (1994)
  • Time: 110 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Cast: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman

Storyline:

Leon is a first-class hit man, but is also a sensitive guy who loves his potted plants. He is moral: “No women, no children” is his professional motto. He is sympathetic to his neighbor, Mathilda, a typically rebellious twelve-year-old who has trouble with her family. But when her father runs afoul of drug kingpin Norman Stansfield, Mathilda turns to Leon for assistance.

One review

  • Luc Besson (Transporter, Taken, The Fifth Element) directs the intense visceral and compelling action/drama of Leon, released in the USA as The Professional. It could be called as a karate kid film…except with guns and assassins. I was left wondering to myself at the end why wasn’t this film given even one nomination in direction or acting. Now it is considered as one of the best films ever made… at the very least it is one of the finest cinematic experience of the 1990’s.

    Leon is a “cleaner” or a hit-man living in Little Italy. He has learned to suppress emotions and feelings and lives his life in a little apartment working for Tony, a mob boss. His life is turned around when 12 year old Mathilda who lives on the same floor and has been recently orphaned comes to him for help. Leon grudgingly helps her at first but soon discovers his own inner child.

    All the scenes are shot beautifully and the action sequences are well planned. The score works well with the film. The acting is superb especially from Natalie Portman who played young Mathilda in her debut film at just the age of 13. She displays her emotions well with her body behavior and immaculate expressions. She was born with the talent. Jean Reno (Pink Panther, The Da Vinci Code) does a good role as Leon, the mentally slow and emotionally dumb hit-man for whom you start to feel. Making someone feel for a hit-man is certainly not easy. Danny Aiello as Tony also gives a good performance and delivers as required.

    Gary Oldman does such an intense, quirky, interesting and terrifying role as the corrupt DEA officer Norman Stansfield that he deserved at least an Oscar nomination. He gives an absolutely electrifying performance and the fact that he improvised one of the best scenes in the film proves his acting chops.

    The film is not for the fainthearted and the action never feels to be artificial or deliberate. The story, while basic, incorporates all the elements for an interesting 2 hours. It’s a cinematic success about innocence destroyed and innocence reborn. The cast show that there is no substitute for good acting and you don’t need special effects to make a good action film. While the accolades are missing, Leon-the professional is definitely a cult classic.

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