After listening to my boyfriend rave about this film for some weeks now and hearing so many times how it’s his favourite film – much to his delight, I finally sat down and watched it, not being 100% sure what to expect.
For the record Leon was renamed The Professional for US release, so if you go looking for this film in the US, you’re looking for The Professional.
Leon (Jean Reno) is a French hit man living in America just trying to get by. He’s a loner both by emotional choice and by the strains of his job. His best friend is a plant but you’d be mistaken if you thought he was unhinged. Leon might be a hit man but he has morals – no woman, no children.
Leon’s life is pretty uncomplicated until his next door neighbours are murdered by corrupt police and their daughter, aged only 12 pleas for his help in finding and killing those that murdered her family.
Matilda (Natalie Portman) might only be 12, but she’s been forced to live in a grown up world. Her father a drug lord, an abusive step mother and sister – she can almost be glad someone ridded her of them. But they killed her 4 year old brother who was completely innocent and that’s what she isn’t prepared to let go.
Together they embark on a journey to find the head of the corrupt police team, played by Gary Oldman and … well do what hit men do. Besides, justice via the cops is out of the questions. Oldman plays this sick, twisted and not sane in the slightest cop really well. He’s a menacing villain who knows he’s in a good position – but is being in a good position to do what you want good enough to stop a 12 year old girl and a hit man?
Leon and Matilda’s relationship is what really makes this movie with both Portman and Reno putting a lot of emotion and passion into their roles. It just adds to the amazing writing of Luc Besson.
Leon isn’t a film you can place into a specific genre, because it just doesn’t fit snuggly into any genre. It’s quite a unique film and that’s part of it’s charm. There’s definitely a lot of elements in it, that will keep you watching until the very end and them some – because you will want to watch it again (I did!).
Besides all that, the characters have real depth – which can’t be fully grasped by watching this once. There’s always a little more you want to know and something else you will spot the next time you watch it.
This is definitely one of the best films out there. I’m not sure if it’s my favourite film of all time yet but it’s definitely up there. It certainly doesn’t get the attention or credit it deserves. Perhaps the hit man theme puts people off as it’s not to everyones taste is that sort of thing, but that’s really not the point of the story – so don’t be put off at all.
Highly recommend you all watch this one, but it’s a bit emotional sometimes so have a box of tissues and I’m not responsible for any crying, weeping or blubbering you might do or any economic crisis in your local shop relating to you buying all the tissues.