Leon: The Professional
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Leon: The Professional (1994)

Leon: The Professional
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Leon, the top hit man in New York, has earned a rep as an effective "cleaner". But when his next-door neighbors are wiped out by a loose-cannon DEA agent, he becomes the unwilling custodian of 12-year-old Mathilda. Before long, Mathilda's thoughts turn to revenge, and she considers following in Leon's footsteps.

Original Title:Léon
Release Date:September 14, 1994
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:R
Genres:Thriller, Crime, Drama
Production Company:Columbia Pictures, Gaumont
Production Countries:France, United States of America
Director:Luc Besson, Sylvette Baudrot, Pascal Chaumeil
Writers:
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:new york, corruption, loss of loved one, assassin, police brutality, s.w.a.t., immigrant, hitman, training, revenge, murder, loneliness, neighbor, tragic love, cult film, neo-noir, complex relationship, complex characters
  • Gripping story with well-crafted characters
    May 16, 1999

    Luc Besson's movie Léon (The Professional) gives us an intense story which is maximized in potential by the casting of the movie done by Todd Thaler. Every aspect of the movie delivers to the audience and makes an impressive overall package. Jean Reno plays a character named Léon who has learned to repress his emotions in order to perform his job as a "cleaner", or hit-man. His secluded world is shattered by the young girl named Mathilda who lives on the same floor as he does in an apartment building. When she turns to him for help, he learns about living a normal life, even if the circumstances which unite them are far from normal.

    The performance delivered by then twelve-year old Natalie Portman as Mathilda is nothing short of brilliant. Her ability to relate to others with body movement and facial gestures is matched by few, she really brings raw emotion and believability to a difficult role. Mathilda and Léon are unexpectedly thrown together, but learn to value life from their chance encounter, and how valuable a friendship can be.

    Jean Reno as Léon gives us a solemn and calculated character who sets all of his energy on his assignments until her is given something else to care about. Mathilda gives him the daughter that he never had, while Léon serves as a father and friend to her. Gary Oldman, as the corrupt DEA Agent Norman Stansfield, offers the viewers an amazingly wired and electrical performance which pushes the envelope. He moves the story along by his actions. Oldman offers us a memorable portrait of a sadistically obsessed man who stops short of nothing to get what he wants.

    The Professional is what movie-making is all about. Without the overuse of special effects, a large shooting location, or a commercially star studded cast, we are given all that could possibly be asked for in a movie. Portman, Oldman, and Reno, along with Danny Aiello as the hit-contractor Tony remind us that there is no substitute for great acting. There are elements of comedy, drama, and action, and great original music by Eric Serra adds to the energy the film already encapsulates. The most impressive thing about the movie is its story which is basic but is maximized by all the other elements which go into the making of the movie. Simply put, an intense and impressive movie.