Monday, June 24, 2013

Movie of the Week – Leon: The Professional

This week’s movie: Leon: The Professional (1994).

The crime drama is about a professional assassin who rescues a teenage girl after her family is killed by a corrupt police detective and his team. The girl asks for the assassin’s help. She wants him to train her in his art so that she can avenge her family.

In France writer-director Luc Besson had already made the critically acclaimed hit films The Big Blue and La Femme Nikita, but it is Leon that put him on the map in the States. He has since become France’s biggest filmmaker (mostly writing and producing action films like Taken). Besson has a set group of collaborators that he works with – all of whom do fantastic work – including: composer Eric Serra, cinematographer Thierry Arbogast, and production designer Dan Weil.

The film stars Jean Reno (who is also a frequent collaborator with Besson – appearing in eight Besson productions, including Besson’s first four films as a director) and Natalie Portman, featuring Danny Aiello, Michael Badalucco, and Gary Oldman in support. While the film served as a breakthrough for both Reno and Portman’s careers (Reno in the States and Portman as a young actress), it is Oldman who gives the film’s best and most iconic performance, creating one of cinema’s greatest villains (something he would do again in Besson’s The Fifth Element).

Leon is currently number thirty-one of IMDb’s list of the Top 250 rated movies of all-time, which attests to how much its fans love it. It is a particularly strong character drama for a film that is mainly built around an epic action scene at the end. For fans of crime dramas, this is a must-see.

Trailer: Here

Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

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