Friday, January 10, 2014

Leon: The Professional (1994)

Original title: Leon

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson

Composer: Eric Serra

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel, Willi One Blood, Don Creech, Keith A. Glascoe, Randolph Scott, Michael Badalucco, Ellen Greene, Elizabeth Rega, Carl J. Matusovich

More info: IMDb

Tagline: If you want a job done well hire a professional.

Plot: Mathilda, a twelve-year old New York girl, is living an undesirable life among her half-family. Her father stores drugs for two-faced cop Norman Stansfield. Only her little brother keeps Mathilda from breaking apart. One day, Stansfield and his team take cruel revenge on her father for stretching the drugs a little, thus killing the whole family. Only Mathilda, who was out shopping, survives by finding shelter in Léon's apartment in the moment of highest need. Soon, she finds out about the strange neighbour's unusual profession - killing - and desperately seeks his help in taking revenge for her little brother. Léon, who is completely inexperienced in fatherly tasks, and in friendships, does his best to keep Mathilda out of trouble - unsuccessfully. Now, the conflict between a killer, who slowly discovers his abilities to live, to feel, to love and a corrupt police officer, who does anything in his might to get rid of an eye witness, arises to unmeasurable proportions - all for the sake of a little twelve-year old girl, who has nearly nothing to lose.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

If LA FEMME NIKITA (1990) put writer/director Luc Besson on the map then LEON forced him to stay. What a great and fun flick and what a smashing debut for Natalie Portman.  She's 13 and the reason why a lot of guys would probably go to jail for their thoughts after watching this movie.  She's terrific. And then you've got greats like Jean Reno in a wonderfully sympathetic role, Gary Oldman in crazy, psychotic mode and Danny Aiello as the man pulling the Leon strings.  Aiello needs to be seen more.  He was all over the place in the late 80s/early 90s and then...poof.  Eric Serra's score is outstanding and serves the film perfectly but the big winner is Besson's storytelling touch.  It's got action, suspense, thrills, great dialogue and performances, kills and heart and he's able to juggle them in a way that can please a wide spectrum of movie goers but most of's a great fucking ride from start to finish.

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