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Léon: The Professional

Series: Director:

“I finished growing up, Leon. I just get older.” “For me, it’s the opposite. I’m old enough. I need time to grow up.”

It’s the perfect description of the awkward yet touching relationship between a simple 40-something assassin and a wise-beyond-her-years pre-teen girl, and it’s at the heart of our next pick in our Luc Besson series, his first foray into English-language cinema, 1994’s Léon: the Professional, or more simply just Léon. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we talk about this fascinating film that we both quite enjoy, a film that is possibly Besson’s best. 

We discuss the fascinating hitman story and what Besson brings to the table, including his Besson-isms that aren’t as prevalent as they were in Nikita but still show their face. We deliberate on the difficult waters the filmmakers were treading when telling this love-story-buried-within-a-crime-story between Natalie Portman’s Mathilda (in her first movie role) and a much older hitman (the always awesome Jean Reno). We talk about the amazing talent — Reno, the amazing turn of 12-year-old Portman, and the ridiculously over the top and meme-inspiring performance of Gary Oldman as a corrupt and evil DEA agent. We chat about the powerful cinematographic moments that Besson and his DP Thierry Arbogast used to capture a few of the most powerful scenes in the film. And we again wonder why Besson feels it necessary to continue employing a composer as bad as Eric Serra. It’s a film that Pete has always loved and Andy only just recently realized he likes it a lot more than he thought, and we have a great time talking about it. Listen in!

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