Review 384: Léon: The Professional (1994)
The last film watched for the 366 challenge was Léon: The Professional. I’d not really had an interest in the film before this year, but it seems a lot of people like it. As I’ve become a big Natalie Portman fan this year, it felt like a good film to end on. It’s quirky and full of some crazy moments, but the film’s fun and Portman is fantastic. Léon: The Professional gets the Decent Watch rating.
Léon: The Professional is not what I expected, but no surprise really
Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is rescued by a professional hitman name Leon (Jean Reno) after her family is killed. She isn’t upset about too many of deaths, but her younger brother upset her as he was truly innocent. She seeks to become his protégée by Léon to seek revenge.
Gary Oldman has now changed in my eyes. I was most familiar with his work as the calm Commissioner Gordon in the Dark Knight Trilogy and his role as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter world. This year I’ve seen his crazy side in True Romance and now this movie. He sure can be a crazy ass when the role calls for it. He is super villainous in this role and the psychotic way his character behaves is definitely memorable. I’ve seen him in other films, like his also crazy role in Fifth Element, but I never thought of him as a bad guy like I see he can be now.
Characters matter in this film
Portman has become one of my favorite actresses. She’s even great as the 12-year-old protagonist. She’s able to command the screen even at such a young age. Alongside Jean Reno, the duo make for an interesting on-screen duo. Their relationship is complicated and at times uncomfortable to watch, but it’s great. Especially when our assassin tries to comfort the young girl with a pig puppet and a series of grunts. It’s definitely not what I was expecting him to do, but it speaks volumes of the man.
Léon is a much deeper character than I expected going into the film. His backstory is only revealed through conversation with Tony (Danny Aiello) and he seems fairly naive. He was brought into this life and he seems to rely heavily on Tony for everything. Mathilda offers him an element of life he wasn’t looking for, but is clearly excited by. I really expected this to be a crazy action flick, but there is so much character development it’s definitely something else.
Final film of the 2016 challenge
I think I’ll revisit this film in the future to see if I pick up anything else. There are some action sequences that are pretty nuts at times. Léon is so good at his job that he appears super natural at times. It’s silly, but the world is crazy in the film so it works. Portman’s performance is definitely a great one as is Reno and Oldman. I’m happy it’s how I cap off my crazy year of watching movies.
I’ll be posting a few blogs this week to wrap up the year, but I’m not done reviewing films. The Top Five Movie podcast and the Berk Reviews Movie Club podcast will be going strong. I hope to get some more writers for the site as well. I’ll be watching at least a movie a week this year, but hopefully more. Thanks for all the support and stay with us in the new year.