Film Analysis: Léon: The Professional

The Professional

The Professional” by aeroman3 is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Film Analysis

Film TitleLéon: The Professional
DirectorLuc Besson
GenreMystery/ Crime film/ Drama/ Action
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?If I could change anything about this specific film It would be to see more on Leon’s backstory and why and how he became a Italian Hitman. I think it would add more to understanding Léon character.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Léon
2. Who is the antagonist?Norman Stansfield
3. What is the conflict?Norman Stansfield ( the Killer) and corrupted police officer, who does anything in within his capabilites to kill the eye witness of his latest kill Matihilda.

4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)Happiness is required in different forms
5. How is the story told (linear, non-linear, with flashbacksflash-forwards, at regular intervals)Linear
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?12 year old Mathilda abusive father is part of corrupted business that stores and sells drugs. When Mathilda family was murder by the vindictive DEA agent Stansfield. Mathilda has only one choice to stay in in order stay alive. Which is her next door neighbor Léon a trained Italian hitman that avengers her family death at a cost.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such
The film emphasizes on the gun shots used throughout the movie because each individual has a specific gun they use. For Léon Berretta 92Fs fitted with a silencer for the quit sound. Assuming you woudn’t hear a gun with a silencer but Leon’s gun makes a tiny sound that emphasis that he is near and plays a large part in his own character being just normally quiet and reserved.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?The setting throughout the film is realistic majority of it filmed in New York and some of the interior filmed in a studio in Paris. One direct object you consistently see throughout the film that plays a large symbolism aspect is Léon Plant. The Plant symbolism Leon himself always in action never really having a home and in the ending scene Mathilda plants the plant representing Léon being gone and settling forever.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do costume and makeup convey character?For Léon character it is simple with a long trench coat that I assume might be from Italy or New York and his sunglasses which are iconic part of him and explains he character being a hitman and just overall quiet and confidential. He wears them throughout the film regardless of the time of day also showing his character as well.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?
The lighting in the film is mostly natural and bright creating the normal New York Environment. It gets darker when theirs more intense scenes for instance the scene in the restaurant Guido’s when they’re discussing actions this could alternatively be because it is a restaurant and restaurants are dark or because they’re discussing hitman business.

11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically?Theirs various camera motions and angles used throughout the film however starting from the beginning the motion of camera starts off panning New York wide-film to make sure the audience understood the setting the film would take place ( New York) then later the camera moves to Guido’s
( ‘Supreme Macaroni co) it moves inwards until blackness switching to a intense atmosphere. The director also uses different motions when fight occur for Instance a scene were the vertigo affect took place when walking through a door-way which raised anxiety through the audience.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about the music?The purpose of the music in the film was to add to understanding of each scene for instance for majority of the scene leon is teacher Mathilda the music is ominous and intense highlighting the hitman business they’re doing. Thier is one exception where they do you use Shape Of My Heart- Sting to hopefully explain a father and daughter relashinship.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?The main social factor that is highlighted throughout the film is how corrupted certain systems can be. For Instance the protagonist in the film Norman Stansfield is part of the DEA ( Drug Enforcement Administration) While the job is initially used to detect and removed drugs it’s clearly revealed that Norman Stanfield uses drugs himself and sells drugs contradicting his job. This also shows the social factors of a corrupted government and people in power.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this film. Use credible sources and cite sources.Example: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.
” Leon is one of the most emotionally intense movies ever made. French director Luc Besson uses everything: actors, music, camera angles, lighting to create an unique experience – “It’s not realism, it’s not naturalism – it’s heightened reality” as Gary Oldman very well put it”
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements. Write a one-sentence description of the scene and record the time of the scene.Example: from 1:05:00 to 1:10:00.Explain why you chose this scene.0:00-3:25
This specific scene is relevant to the overall aspect of the film because it’s the start of the relationship between Mathilda and Leon. ( Hopefully father and daughter) The scene reveals the violence and, that occurs in the film and also shows the empathy that one character can have for another which builds the plot of the film.
16. In the selected scenewrite a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:The emotion in this scene that depicts the meaning of the whole film which is Léon ability to care for a person he has no connection too. Lastly, it’s the acting of Mathilda ( Natalie Portman) first she seen crying which adds to the anxiety of the scene once Léon let’s her into his complex she starts becoming a vindictive character to avenge her brother and become like Léon. ( All add to the growth of the characters and film)
b. Sound Design:The music used in the scene is thrilling and Deep like it basically telling the story for itself. It’s also mysterious which adds Mathilda understanding of her family being killed.
c. Camera Movements/Angles:The camera movement follows Mathilda through the hallway so the audience is following the reaction of Mathilda seeing her family dead. It pans inside her apartment complex and adjusting. Then switiches back and forth to Léon who is watching her walked towards his complex. This movements add depth to film by seeing both characters.
d. Light Setup:Mathilda face is dark throughout the hallway physically covered in tears and blood from her noise and the hallway light is dark representing her emotion. Then when Léon opens the door her face is lit up with light from his complex representing a home and comfort.
e. Soundtrack/Score:Similar to said before in the sound design section the uses mysterious music that follows the intense scene to build up to each characters and the development of the film.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?Girlhood culture is represented a lot throughout the film its the counterculture of a girl being sexualized throughout the film shown a lot in this film which adds to understanding of the directors intentions and explains the French and America culture behind being a girl.

This worksheet was developed with ideas from many IB Film teachers, thus should remain in the Creative Commons

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