Leon: The Professional

Leon-the-professional-posterEnglish language French crime drama from 1994
Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Bechdel-test: Pass

Exposition

The young girl Mathilda’s family is murdered and she is taken in by her neighbor who turns out to be an assassin. He trains Mathilda in his profession to ease her desire for revenge upon her family’s killers.

Reactions

A good movie in general. I’ve seen it before when it was new, and I enjoyed it more then. Maybe it fitted more with the 90’s then it does now? It has stood the test of time for the most part, and is still entertaining, but maybe it was even better back then.

Contemplations

The sound and visuals fitted very well with the story and a look at what people wore back then, all made the film a joy for the eye. Although, do not mistake my description for saying there is beauty on the screen. It is simply a set, a wardrobe and a look that fits well with the story and characters.

The acting by Jean Reno and Natalie Portman is fantastic, but Gary Oldman was simply to over the top for my liking.

The story is good and gives the audience a chance to follow the two main characters in such a manner that their development becomes fully believable. It is a slightly disturbing story, but it is also a cracking good one. I think it will stay with me for a few days.

Judgement

I would watch it again, sure. I think the movie deserves to be on a list of best movies, but maybe not the high end of the list.

Epilogue

I would only recommend “Leon: The professional” to adults, do not be fooled by the fact that is is about a 12-year old girl. It is about two lost and lonely souls that try to rescue one another, in the midst of a crime thriller, so you should be in the mood for that in order to see the movie. Otherwise; I think it is a nice way to spend a few hours.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “Leon: The Professional” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

Three movies down. 362 to go.

If you want to get “Leon: The Professional” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “The Bourne ultimatum“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

The Shawshank redemption

shawshank-redemption-posterAmerican crime drama from 1994
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Stephen King, Frank Darabont
Bechdel-test: Fail

Exposition

Andy Dufresne is sentenced to life in prison in 1947, and on the inside he meets Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, the guy who can get you anything. Together these two men, and a variety of other prisoners, try to find a way to live and have a life within the confines of their situation.

Reactions

I was entertained by this movie the whole way through, even though I had seen it before. I had forgotten almost every minor detail of the story, but I remembered the broad strokes. Maybe that is why I could still be entertained by this movie.

One thing that stands out when I contemplate “The Shawshank redemption”  is the set of characters surrounding Red and Andy. All their friends and enemies. We don’t get much information about their backgrounds, but still, their distinct personalities and unpredictable reactions is a big part of what makes this movie work.

Red is the storyteller of this movie, but unlike some other movies with an older black male as storyteller or advisor of some kind, Red is an actual character. He has a background, a personality, development and isn’t just some weird black prop.

Contemplations

The story of these two men seeking redemption, or a life, inside a prison is oddly compelling. It might sound boring condensed into one sentence, but their trials and tribulations; rape, corruption, institutionalization, and simply making the time go by, is a tale I wanted to see to the end. Sometimes it’s the story itself, and sometimes it’s Red’s narration, but I was constantly curious about what would happen next.

I haven’t read the book, but have become curious enough to put it near the top of my reading list now. It might not be a very typical Stephen King novel, but, depending on how close an adaption the movie is, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank redemption should be a pretty good read. Maybe the other three stories in the book is worth my time as well. Who knows.

The actors were great. The two main characters was very well portrayed, but for me, the best actor was James Whitmore who played Brooks Hatlen. It might have been the good story of the character, but regardless, he was brilliant as Brooks. A full ensemble of great actors makes the prison feel real.

While I may not have seen every movie starring Tim Robbins or Morgan Freeman, among the ones that I have seen, I think this is at least one of their top performances, if not the very best.

Mansfield

Mansfield reformatory played the part of the Shawshank prisons exterior. Photo by 2old at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, Original photo

The setting for this quiet and understated story is the big Shawshank prison, a giant of a complex, and a beautiful image for how large prison becomes when you are on the inside, and how it can eat up your life, if you let it.

The posters of sexy women that Andy hangs in his cell, starting with Rita Hayworth, moving on to Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch, serves to show just how much time passes in the story. Andy’s poster is just about the total presence of women in this men’s prison, just as I would expect.

I thought “The Shawshank redemption” was a really well made movie with good actors and nice music and images.

The movie is now 23 years old, but it has stood the test of time quite well.

Judgement

It does not come as a surprise to me, or others I presume, that the movie with the highest rating off all the movies on IMDb, gets a big thumbs up.

Epilogue

I would recommend this movie to most people. Not a younger audience, though.

It is a movie that will be best viewed rarely, and maybe the best experience would be for the first time viewer. The slow life in prison will somehow sneak up on you in this movie, and it is a nice surprise.

If someone had asked me if I could recommend a prison movie, in more general terms, I would have said no, but this one would be a nice movie to watch for practically everyone.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The Shawshank redemption” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

One movie down. 364 to go.

If you want to get “The Shawshank redemption” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s already on your shelf?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Paris, Texas“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.