COLUMN: ‘Léon: The Professional’ a quality movie but lacks depth


Rob Le Cates

Cam’ron Hardy is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Cam'ron Hardy, Columnist

The film has a good storyline, but the film’s pacing and the lack of emotional portrayal is the downfall of it.

Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is a 12-year-old girl whose father works with corrupt police officers. When she comes home from to her family being murdered by these corrupt police officers, she goes to her neighbor’s house, Léon (Jean Reno). Léon is a hitman for a mobster who eventually trains Mathilda to kill to avenge her family’s death.

The cinematography and acting are the leading factor as to why this film is good.

The color pallets for this film are very well. There are times where this a harsh yellow tint which plays a big part with the aesthetic of the movie.

Knowing that this film released in 1994, the quality of this film is not the best, but that adds onto the aesthetic of how dull things look all throughout the film.

There is a very short scene where there is a first-person point of view, which is not seen very often in cinema. It was an abnormal shot but was enjoyable.

The distance and angles between subjects in shots is another part into the great cinematography. Sometimes there is a large amount of space between people in scenes, which adds onto the scenes.

Pertaining to the acting, Portman did a very impressive job with this role. Considering she was only 13 years old in real life when film was released, her acting ability was very notable.

Her know-it-all attitude was typical for somebody around her age. Since she was around that age in real life, it must have been an easy role to play at times.

Gary Oldman played a corrupt police officer by the name of Norman Stanfield. His character had a dark persona, aside from the face that he was already a crooked cop. He teased his victims before killing them and had a snobby personality.

Reno’s performance was not as good as the other characters, but he portrayed the message. Léon has a soft spot for Mathilda, so his scenes with her are where most of his acting ability peaks at.

The film starts off really well with a lot of action, but steadily declines until the end where there is more action. For most of the middle of the film is dialogue, but it is very dry.

It is good for context and to understand relationships and connections, but it drags on for an extended amount of time and can cause viewers to lose interest.

If there were more intense training scenes, then that would have allowed those scenes to be more entertaining.

Also, since the amount of action disappeared, that brought down the stature of the film. The audience is greeted with it and left with it, but it is not consistent throughout.

The pacing of the film is also a downfall. Mathilda’s entire family is killed and only hours later, she is seemingly okay. This connects with the amount of depth that was lacking.

Although the acting performances were good, the audience never sees how deeply rooted the relationships between people go. It seems forced and the lack of emotion between characters does not evoke emotion to viewers.

There is not enough vulnerability brought out of the characters to portray how much someone else means to them. Mathilda’s family is slaughtered, and she sees one of her them, but her emotions pass quickly. Léon’s connection with Mathilda is understood by viewers but is not shown enough.

This film is very good . It is well shot and has a good storyline, but the lack of emotion in depth is the insufficiency of the film.

Rate: 3/5

Cam’ron Hardy is sophmore journalism. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.