One person consciously killing another is not that uncommon. In fact, there are over 15,000 cases of murder each year in the United States. This means that around every 30 minutes, someone is murdered. Of course, let’s not get into the statistics involved with militaries and wars, but stay on a strictly local level here. And yet, some people are trained to kill (oftentimes in a military setting) and are hired to kill because of this training. A lot of this training involves removing your emotions from the equation, but occasionally the skills required to kill are needed to overcome high levels of security. After all, people wouldn’t hire assassins if they could just do the job themselves. However, sometimes the hired assassin is needed to protect their employer from any legal issues involved with the murder. This is why an assassin is needed. This week’s two films highlight some professional assassins.
Léon: The Professional
Length: 110 minutes / 1.83 hours
In the simplest terms, a professional is someone who is paid to do something. If we want to take this definition one step further, a professional is someone who makes a living off of a certain skill. While I consider myself a writer, I would not consider myself a professional writer, despite the fact that I have been paid for it. And yet, even if you can make your living as an assassin, the better you are at it, the more money you will make in the end. According to Léon, the best assassins kill in the closest ranges without being seen or detected. Rifles are for amateurs, knives are for pros. This makes sense, since almost anyone can be a sniper, but it takes an incredibly skilled individual to slit someone’s throat. Now, how would you train a child to be an assassin, even if you don’t really want to?
Léon (Jean Reno) lives a very simple life with a very dangerous job. While he spends his time working as an assassin for hire, in his spare time he enjoys some basic botany and a tall glass of milk. Of course, because his job is what it is, he always sleeps with one eye open. However, fate has thrown Léon a curveball when his neighbors in the next apartment over are murdered, leaving him with the choice of whether or not to help the remaining survivor: a girl by the name of Mathilda (Natalie Portman). By letting her into the safety of his apartment, he has now become involved in something bigger than both of them. Now Mathilda wants to learn to be an assassin to avenge her family’s death. Léon begrudgingly agrees to teach her, but takes the responsibility of revenge upon himself.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Length: 120 minutes / 2.0 hours
Today’s workforce is incredibly diverse. Jobs that once went only to men are now being successfully accomplished by women too. The glass ceiling has broken for many occupations, not the least of which is assassination. Of course, in today’s “work hard” environment, there is little room for a personal life outside of work. Perhaps this is why many people find their spouse through work: they spend so much time there that there are few opportunities to meet anyone else outside of work. If there’s one occupation that consumes their workforce, it has to be assassination. So, then what are the chances of two assassins meeting up, falling in love, and eventually getting married? While not a traditional “family business”, assassination does have a lot of benefits, not the least of which is money.
After being married for half a decade, John (Brad Pitt) and Jane (Angelina Jolie) have lost the spark of their marriage. They’d like to get back to the halcyon days of their first encounter in Colombia, but it just seems like they spend too much time at work. Of course, neither knows what the other does all day, but when they are both sent on a mission to assassinate a prisoner in transit, they soon find out that they both work the same kind of job, merely for different agencies. This leads to their respective agencies pitting John and Jane against each other due to the botched hit from earlier. After destroying their house in an incredible action sequence, they decide to team up and go after those who want them both dead. As it turns out, the spark that was missing from their marriage was the pure bliss of working together.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 deadly duos