Details: Released in 1994. About two hours long. Directed by Luc Besson. Stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman.
Leon: The Professional is another one of those classic movies that I’ve often seen mentioned on the internet but I’d never seen. Going into it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What I found was a movie that made me uncomfortable and cringe a lot. I think that’s the generally accepted response to statutory rape.
The movie is about a hitman who takes in a young girl through various circumstances and trains her to be a hitman. It is also about the relationship between the two… which treads into statutory rape territory.
There’s no consummation, but the idea is there and obvious. Some of the outfits they made Natalie Portman wear were particularly suggestive and creepy. I looked up how old she was when they filmed this and she was eleven. Using kid actors always makes me uncomfortable given the history of child abuse in show business. This film did not alleviate any of that discomfort.
Gary Oldman does a fine performance as usual. Jean Reno is okay. Natalie Portman is… eleven. It reminded me of Jennifer Lawrence’s role in American Hustle in that you had someone really young saying lines that would only sound convincing from someone older. Instead of something believable, you get a big dose of cognitive dissonance and the believability of the whole movie kind of fell apart at times.
Overall, the movie is okay. I do not understand why people love this movie. It was okay… and little bit creepy. I like Luc Bessons work on The Fifth Element and I’m looking forward to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. This movie wasn’t great for me.