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Léon: The Professional (1994)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


Léon: The Professional (1994) Poster

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

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8.6/10
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  • Luc Besson and Natalie Portman in Léon: The Professional (1994)
  • Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in Léon: The Professional (1994)
  • Luc Besson in Léon: The Professional (1994)
  • Gary Oldman and Danny Aiello in Léon: The Professional (1994)
  • Natalie Portman in Léon: The Professional (1994)
  • Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in Léon: The Professional (1994)

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson

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User Reviews


16 May 1999 | Methos-7
10
| Gripping story with well-crafted characters
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.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

French actor Samy Naceri has one of his first roles in this film. He plays a bit part as a SWAT office, and was on the set for only ten days. When Luc Besson wrote the screenplay for the film Taxi (1998), he always wanted Naceri for the lead role, because he was much impressed by the short cooperation with him.


Quotes

Tony: Allora, come stai, Leone?
Léon: Bene.
Tony: OK. OK. Let's talk business.


Goofs

Stansfield repeatedly pops a drug capsule into his mouth and reacts instantly, as if he had ingested raw powder through his mouth or nasal passage. In reality, under normal circumstances a gel capsule could not have dissolved instantly in his mouth to allow immediate ingestion of the drug powder contained inside the capsule. It would have had to be swallowed, and even then several minutes would pass before the gel capsule could dissolve enough for the drug inside it to take effect.

However, if you watch closely (and listen) Stansfield is actually biting the capsules. You can see his jaw move and hear a distinctive *crack* sound. This would instantly release the powder into his mouth. For many drug users, part of the "high" is an endorphin rush when their body realizes that they are about to receive a dose. The mere taste of it is enough for the early stages of euphoria to kick in.

In other words, his reaction is partially psychosomatic, like a smoker reacting with a sigh to the first hit of a cigarette before any of the nicotine has any time to have an actual physical effect. Or how a heroin addict's withdrawal symptoms begin to disappear when they start preparing their shot. In that case, not only has the drug not had enough time to act but it's also not even in the body yet. And it can still cause a physical reaction.

You can see that the entire act is almost like a ritual for Stansfield, beginning with his shaking the container to listen to the pills rattle around.


Crazy Credits

Under the "SPECIAL THANKS" heading you will find: Chevalier KAMEN (Prince of the Mash Potatoes) Byblos Bill (King of Saint Tropez) Princess Trudy (Queen of Hearts)


Alternate Versions

In the original version there is a shot of Tony's place at night just before Stansfield and his men come in on the birthday party. This isn't in the 'Version integrale' (International Cut).


Soundtracks

The Experience of Love
Written by
Éric Serra
Performed by Éric Serra

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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