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In Léon: The Professional, there are quite a few scenes in the eatery owned by Tony, contract kill manager. At all times there can be seen an old man in a hat, sitting alone at the same corner table. Sometimes he is watching:

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But more often he is asleep:

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The film director clearly draws our attention to him. Why? Who is he? Why is he there all the time?

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I don't know this for sure, but here is my guess.

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We see that the eatery never gets any real customers: the only people ever in there are those visiting Tony, his employees, his family and this mysterious old man. It is apparently a sham business, purported to wash the proceeds of the actual business — contract killing.

A sham business needs to make the impression of a real business, showcasing all the attributes of it — attributes of an eatery in this case.

The man is one of the attributes. A interior element. A bogus customer adding that tiny but pleasing little sense of a patron. He is apparently paid to sit there all day long, and in his age it might be not a bad deal at all.

Additionally, he is a witness to anyone who Tony talks to. He doesn't hear the conversations but he sees who talks to Tony and when. Perhaps, this might be useful for Tony in his real business in case any disputes with the clients arise.

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    Although seems likely, would love to see some more information on that. I will add, though, that it is quite a likely explanation, as I walked in on such a situation as that - though not contract killing lol - rather..an illicit trade, many years ago, the whole front was a common eatery, complete with staff and patrons. Took a while to notice the patrons were rather large and were evidently armed, and not eating very much. One further add is that I originally thought it was a nod to the old country, perhaps one of the family members who came over from there, given his age. Sep 17, 2022 at 21:58

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