03-10-2011, 05:19 AM
That film is more usually known as Leon.
03-11-2011, 09:19 AM
An utterly brilliant film.
03-11-2011, 05:15 PM
agreed. damn fine performances by both natalie and jean reno. only watched the full version of this recently. worth the wait.
03-13-2011, 10:46 PM
That film is more usually known as Leon.Depends upon where you are. In the U.S. it was released under the title: "The Professional". I saw it in the theater when it was first released in the U.S.
It was released under that title or a translation of that title in several other countries as well.
It was also released under the title "Leon: The Professional" or translations of that in some countries.
11-05-2011, 07:59 PM
Natalie Portman is unusual in being a standout child actor who went on to become a standout actress as an adult. She was really good in the stylish horror Black Swan not too long ago. I know nothing about her personal life and choose not to research it, but she reminds me of that troubled acting genius, Natalie Wood in terms of beauty and acting range. Sadly Hollywood tends to devour its young and I hope that will never be Ms Portman's fate.
Luc Bresson's Leon is a great film, rich in layers of meaning, superbly filmed and superbly acted. I didn't like Gary Oldman's performance as the DEA officer who murdered Mathilda's (Portman's) family; it had bravura energy and some outstanding moments of feral malevolence, as when he sniffed the man he suspected of stealing the drugs and spared his life because he could smell no drugs on him. It was too unsubtle for the rest of the film, so full of moral ambiguity. Leon (Jean Reno) is a bad hat, a stylish and really cool assassin whose skill and nerves of steel are established in the opening scene when he wipes out a drug dealer's entourage and bodyguards but merely warns the now-defenceless dealer to leave New York and never come back, and allows the casual hooker who just happened to be turning her trick there to walk away unharmed because she is an innocent party in someone else's turf war. Leon is exceptionally good at what he does and we can see that in his own terms, he is a true professional, economical, careful to avoid collateral damage, and as implacable and pitiless towards his target as the first snow of winter.
The crux of this great film lies in the relationship that forms, the bond which develops between the absolute loner, Leon, and his accidental ward, Mathilda. It took the exceptional skill of both actors to make their relationship come to life; Portman was wonderful in her scenes with Reno as we see her own abused and damaged child become more and more "normal" as she learns to trust Leon and adopts him as a surrogate father, everything her own parents never were. The scene when Leon lets Mathilda in and their story begins is just sublime, tense and horrible and wonderful all at the same time. She is being watched suspiciously by Oldman's killers and if they connect her to the family they have just destroyed, she will die too. Her only chance is to knock on Leon's door and pretend she lives there instead. She stands waiting and the killers are getting more suspicious with every moment; if Leon doesn't open the door, she is doomed. There isn't one single logical reason why Leon would intervene, why he would save her...but then he opens the door, the sunlight falls on her from the window behind him. and her desperate last longshot comes off, and she is saved. Leon, to his own astonishment, finds that he has one tiny little shred of humanity left. He has saved Mathilda, but as the film goes on to show, his pity for her has redeemed him, has vindicated an existence which was previously accursed.
Outstanding film; one of the great latter day film noirs.
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