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Review of "Léon: The Professional" by Luc Besson (1994)

By Edited May 29, 2016 0 0

Léon Plot Outline

Léon is a hit-man living a lonely life in New York. Since killing is not a kind of job that would allow him to settle down and live happily ever after, Léon is mostly living in hotels and rented apartments. Most likely, he decided to chose a lonely life of a professional assassin after an unhappy relationship with a woman, as we can hear from what his friend and patron Tony says.
However, destiny brings together Léon and 12 year old girl Matilda, after a group of police - covered drug dealers kill the girl's family. Léon saves Matilda's life by capturing the girl and locking her up in his apartment. Since then, a friendly relationship and deep attachment build up fast between them: the killer introduces the courageous girl to his craft, while Matilda keeps his new soul-mate entertained. However, Matilda's need for vengeance takes over at some point as she decides to sneak into the police station to take revenge of the crooked detective Norman Stansfield. Leon abandons his principles and comes to save the girl, thus dooming himself to death.

Production and Script

Brilliant production. Despite some visible disparity between exterior and interior scenes (as far as I have discovered, exterior shots were filmed in New York, while most of the interior scenes were crafted in Paris),  the story flows smoothly within the borders of classical linear storytelling, which makes the film understandable and easy to watch.

The story between a 12 year old girl and a professional hit-man is the core of the story. These two seemingly incompatible characters insensibly become best friends as the story unfolds. The brave little girl easily captures Léon's heart and, although their relationship stays purely platonic throughout the film, we can see that there could have been much more between them in time, if the script lingered further. However, Luc Besson has done his best to keep the thin line between love and deep wholehearted friendship. It is very interesting to watch Léon's lonely heart unfold as Matilda captures his attention and devotion.

As far as acting is concerned, the most notable characters in the movie are Léon, young Matilda and the drug addicted detective Stansfield. The reckless Matilda seems to be that right person to melt Léon's heart and make him feel again, while Stansfield's involvement in crime investigation is perfectly hidden behind his drug - affected behavior.

Overall, "Léon: The Professional" is a must-see cinematographic work, with a minimal amount of bloodshed and cruelty, which makes it highly recommended for a family evening. This is not an action movie, this is a beautiful drama picturing human emotions in a very subtle way, the way they are, with no false pretense and with a little amount of fiction. After all, have you ever seen a professional assassin addicted to a domestic flower?

"Léon: The Professional" trailer



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