1994. dir. Luc Besson, starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello. Also released as The Professional.
Seen it before? The last half several times...
If you've ever wondered what kind of person makes a good hit man you could read a bunch of books about it...biographies about men or women who were hired hands (obviously caught) and then gave their stories...or you could watch this movie and wonder if there are hit men out there who are like Léon - Cold and calculating while on the job, and who happens to be a loner who takes care of a plant, doesn't know how to read (and therefore is taken advantage of by the man who sets up most of his hits), drinks milk and works out on a regular basis, and then spends his time at the movies watching Gene Kelly movies...and then takes in a girl who just lost her family and teaches her the art of the clean.
I thought Jean Reno was excellent. I've seen him in French Kiss, the Da Vinci Code, Mission Impossible and now this and I just love him. He plays both sides, good guy and bad quite well. I think now I'm going to have to watch La Femme Nikita. My favorite line of his was:
Léon: No women, no kids, that's the rules.
And I just loved watching his interpretation of John Wayne during charades! Hilarious!
I also loved his relationship with Mathilda because it was truly innocent...and it bothers me that people made it seem creepy. The man was practically Forrest Gump in terms of his sexuality (or lack thereof) and his child-like qualities of drinking milk and enjoying Gene Kelly movies. These lines speak for themselves:
Mathilda: Leon, I think I'm kinda falling in love with you.
[Leon chokes on his milk]
Mathilda: It's the first time for me, you know?
Léon: [wiping himself off] How do you know it's love if you've never been in love before?
Mathilda: 'Cause I feel it.
Mathilda: [stoking her stomach] In my stomach. It's all warm. I always had a knot there and now... it's gone.
Léon: Mathilda, I'm glad you don't have a stomach ache any more. I don't think it means anything.
Now onto Natalie Portman - it's interesting to watch someone grow up on screen who is a year younger than me...and more interesting that I've practically done it backwards- The Other Boleyn Girl, The Darjeeling Limited, Where the Heart is, the new Star Wars movies, Everyone Says I Love You, and now this movie. She says that this was her acting school on the featurette that came with the movie. I for one can't imagine being 11 and working on this particular movie but I'm sure it was certainly a learning experience! And I can't disagree with Sam about Padme, but I can say that Harrison Ford said it best, "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."
Meanwhile Gary Oldman just bothers me in the same way Christopher Walken bothers me. Both are incredibly great actors but both really creep me out. I hated what Gary Oldman's character was about. It enraged me that he killed the kids of the guy he was after....and then lied about it!
Would I see it again? I have and probably will in the future
Would I add it to my collection? No, it makes me too angry.