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Leon: The Professional
Year:
1994
Country:
France
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
Luc Besson
Jean Reno as Léon
Gary Oldman as Stansfield
Natalie Portman as Mathilda
Danny Aiello as Tony
Peter Appel as Malky
Willi One Blood as 1st Stansfield man
Don Creech as 2nd Stansfield man
Keith A. Glascoe as 3rd Stansfield man (Benny)
Randolph Scott as 4th Stansfield man
Michael Badalucco as Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene as Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen as Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich as Mathilda's Brother
Frank Senger as Fatman
Storyline: After her father, mother, older sister and little brother are killed by her father's employers, the 12-year-old daughter of an abject drug dealer is forced to take refuge in the apartment of a professional hitman who at her request teaches her the methods of his job so she can take her revenge on the corrupt DEA agent who ruined her life by killing her beloved brother.
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1080p 1920x816 px 11895 Mb h264 12518 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 640x272 px 1395 Mb mpeg4 1255 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
A film that is near perfection
Whenever I asked people a list of their favourite films, Leon often found its way in their repitoire of fantastic films. Considering it was released in 1994, and I only saw it for the first time in Autumn 2011, my first thoughts after watching Leon were: 'how have I not seen this masterpiece until now?'. It was truly one of the most mind-blowing Television experiences of my life.

The plot itself is nothing spectacularly original- a deadly assassin (Leon played by Jean Reno) who keeps his business to himself in order to survive, fosters a young girl (Natalie Portman) whose family is executed because the father was hoarding drugs from a crazy drug-dealer (Gary Oldman) who is also a corrupt policeman. The young girl fortunately went to the shop while her family were massacred, and when she returns, she pleads to Leon to save her life. She discovers that Leon is secretly an assassin, and because she has lost her family, she asks Leon to teach her how to become an assassin so she can claim revenge on those responsible for murdering her family. In exchange, she offers to teach Leon to read and write and improve his social skills. (he is pretty much illiterate). Although at first he refuses her request, eventually he relents and teaches her the tricks of his trade.

The three main actors in the film play their parts incredibly; Jean Reno as Leon plays his part so convincingly as an uneducated and detached assassin that you could almost believe that he is one in real life, Natalie Portman plays the mischievous, witty and headstrong young girl who seems older than her age with excellence,arguably her best performance that is only rivaled by her great performance in 'The Black Swan', and Gary Oldman portrays the psychotic drug-dealing policeman with such finesse only a few actors could pull off without spoiling the main villain of the story.

What makes this film truly powerful to the eyes of the viewer is the bond between Leon and the girl- at first they are completely incompatible, but as they spend more time with one another, they become more versed in each others manners and skills, and become so in love with one another that they become inseparable, in lifestyle, and in their missions.

I originally watched the un-cut version of the film, and after buying the film to discover it cut out several scenes, I was pretty disappointed. I can understand why- there were several scenes that were perhaps unsuitable for a young girl to be seen doing, but these scenes added great character and depth; they were included in the film for a great reason. What this film does excellently which few directors can imitate is deliver violence and explicit scenes with a perfect balance of seriousness and comedy. It brought both tears of joy and sadness to my eyes with equal measure. From beginning to end Leon never ceases to amaze and astonish. I cannot think of anything that could be changed or done to make 'Leon' a better film- it is a film that is as near to perfection as any film gets.
2012-03-26
I didn't think I'd find a better movie about a hit-man than Grosse Pointe Blank... but I did in spades.
This film is the story of a very smart and calculating professional killer named Leon (Jean Reno) who ends up with a burden in his arms, a twelve year old girl named Matilda (Natalie Portman). Matilda's fate is almost met when a very crooked DEA Agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman) murders her family while she is out buying milk - Leon saves her life and teaches her the trade of "cleaning". I bought this film before I had even seen it. I did this because of the fantastic reviews it got, and having a real respect for Gary Oldman. When I fired it up the first time... it all suddenly made sense.

The real story behind Leon isn't the gun play, (which is still fantastic) but the relationship between mature well mannered Leon and sexually inexperienced and unsure, but outgoing Matilda. The chemistry between the two on screen is just fantastic, as Leon starts to come to terms with himself that he really is in love with Matilda. Pedhophila is an issue in this film (though is never shown) and is understandable why some people find it to be a hard pill to swallow (maybe not for Oldman)... but for me, this film is like taking a trip down a road of rocky revenge, heartbreaking tragedy, breathtaking style and substance to die for. See Leon today.
2005-10-27
What does "per se" mean?
Truly, I am not at all the kind of person who would advocate the French' self-concept. Anyway I must admit the Marseillaise is the one and only anthem that deserves being called 'anthem'. The Marseillaise is the anthem per se. And Léon is the movie per se. How else could a virile man happen to start crying watching an action movie? How else could a sophisticated man fall in love with a child? Or a tantalized pacifist's soul feel itself falling into murderous frenzy? With the means of his cinematic language Luc Besson sneaks under our skin, ignoring any mental or emotional barriers. During the movie our eyes our not the window to peek at our soul but the gateway to enter it. Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and the Dieffenbachia realize the story so frankly and straightforward that the brilliance of the story completely blends into the authenticity of the impression. I face a work and do not dare speak a word about it. It is. Léon is the Movie.
2010-06-12
Excellent, smart action film.
Luc Besson's "The Professional" is sort of a companion piece to his international breakthrough hit "La Femme Nikiti", and in many ways it's an even better film. It raises the stakes of Besson's playful women-with-guns theme by making the heroine a 12-year-old, played by a then unknown Natalie Portman. Jean Reno is excellent as her assassin trainer and surrogate father. Oldman is completely over the top in one of his best bad-guy roles, obsessed with both Beethoven and butchery. As a gritty, suspenseful thriller, this film won't leave action fans feeling cheated, but the film is so much more than that. At the center of "The Professional" is a wonderful father and daughter-like relationship between two damaged strangers who find solace in each other.
2005-01-04
Leon: The Professional (1994) - Natalie Portman is Smoking at Age 12 in this Movie, and Jean Reno Drinks Too Much Milk!
Written and directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson, "Leon: The Professional" is thrilling hit-man movie on the outside, but a touching friendship story on the inside. The movie begins with Leon, portrayed by Jean Reno, a hit-man who takes in a 12-year-old girl named Mathilda, portrayed by a young Natalie Portman in her feature film debut, whose family has been murdered by a corrupt DEA agent, portrayed by Gary Oldman. With the help of a friendly mobster, by Danny Aiello, and this weird 12-year-old girl, Leon will try his best to protect from this corruptive agent. "Leon: The Professional" is a mixture of action and heartwarming drama. This movie takes us on explosive action scenes, while warming our hearts with the friendly chemistry between Leon and Mathilda. Jean Reno delivers the best performance of his career as the milk-obsessed hit-man. Natalie Portman makes a pretty-well portrayal for her big-screen debut. Gary Oldman steals the show as the murderous and mischievous agent of corruption. Danny Aiello makes a sweet and tough impression in his character, as well. The dialogue is sharp, the direction is well-managed, the acting is well-crafted, and the action scenes are thrilling. This movie also has a big heart, when talking about this unlikely friendship between this hit-man and a little girl. It's a cinema favorite for all you movie buffs. It has a well-crafted premise, and this is a movie that really works. This movie is definitely a must-watch. "Leon: The Professional", in my review, "an impressive mob story, with unique elements".
2012-01-11
a symphony in film
luc besson will never top this movie. This is his benchmark, his classical composition. Look at the precise, intricate scenes. It's a symphony in cinema. Straight off, it's action. Intelligently shot, and scripted. It makes everything that follows hard to live upto. But it does so easily. It's stylish without being showy, it's deep without being sentimental. And it's just hugely enjoyable. Seeing the friendship between newly orphaned mathilda and skilled assasin leon bloom, is tenderly done. At risk of slipping into a sappy bond, besson keeps it easy on the emotions, without coming off as shallow.

The actors are all spot on, most notably the debut from a young natalie portman as mathilda. Showing an angry, sad, pent up, in love girl is no simple task but she breezes through it, touching all the right notes. And jean reno as the title character, is minimal but very effecting. Hard to understand, but easy to relate too. But gary oldman steals it, with his glorious overacting. He's as scary as he is determind. His line delivery is almost perfect. And his fate is very fitting. If only they made more intelligent action movies, then they could contend with this film. But as it stands right now, leon is one of the best action dramas ever made.
2003-04-25
Terrific!
I only bought this film a few days ago because Gary Oldman was in it. I never realised what a masterpiece it was. Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman are all brilliant in this wonderful triangle.

Is there a role that Gary Oldman cannot pull off with style? Even in his poorer films such as LOST IN SPACE, he is still able to bring it to a watchable level. This is definetly in my top 5 favourite Gary Oldman films.

I found the love bit (what Mathilde feels for Leon) a bit dodgy but hey the girl is 12- her emotions were running wild!

Definetly worth a buy and it deserve its place in the IMDB Top 250 films of all time!
2003-11-27
A Brilliant Conflict
This film, better known in the U.S. as "The Professional", is a wonderful and intense film. Jean Reno plays his role as a "cleaner" with incredible subtlety. Leon tries to keep his emotions completely suppressed, yet Matilda (in an extraordinary performance by a young Natalie Portman, who is destined to become a very powerful actress into her adult life) bring out in him a new-found joy for life that accompanies his growing paternal instincts. But, the most dynamic element of this film is undeniably Gary Oldman's performance as a wildly sadistic and crooked DEA agent with his own narcotic-induced demons. His obsessions eventually lead him to the brink of absolute madness in his hunt for the cleaner. Truly, this is Oldman's finest performance to date, worthy of Oscar glory, though sadly forgotten. And so, Luc Besson did indeed top his triumph of "La Femme Nikita" by far with this masterpiece. Though, I cannot exactly praise his most recent effort with the sci-fi misfire, "The Fifth Element."
1998-08-14
Still one of the more quotable, entertaining, touching and flat out enjoyable films I've ever seen.
Léon is pure film-making, outstanding just as it is hypnotic just as it is out and out entertaining. Known as The Professional to others, Luc Besson's debut English language film captures the essence of evil on screen just as it does the potential hope other individuals may carry amidst all the gloom and depression in one of cinema's favourite down and out cities: New York. Why Léon is such an unrecognised film is quite bewildering – IMDb has it grossing a modest $19 Million dollars but it won two awards and garnered a few other nominations. Everyone likes a hero and most people like a story where two people (usually of opposite genders) connect in certain times of hardship amidst a locale of no hope – at its core, Léon could be seen as exactly this.

The film is a tale of revenge, a love story and a crime drama complete with hit men, criminals, bent police men and innocent young girls caught up in the middle. The film presents to us how one event or one act of greed can act as a catalyst for bigger and nastier things, on a much larger scale than first intended and the film also brings a certain humane quality to worn out clichés and typical characters for the genre; like Tarantino and the Coen brothers at the height of their quality as seen in Pulp Fiction and Fargo respectively, this is Luc Besson stripping down the screen and delivering on a simplistic but immensely satisfying level.

The ingredients work in Léon. At its heart, a vulnerable hero in Mathilda (Portman) who is established to be living in a 'world' that is less than perfect but is a hero whose life is changed by an outside, unseen event and must then realise this as a trigger for not only her desire for revenge, but the propulsion into the real world in which she will learn the skills she needs and generally mature. The idea, or formula, is best presented in the training montage Léon (Reno) himself and Mathilda partake in to a popular Björk song – it is the classic case of passing time to a montage to signify maturity and learning.

But this is in no way a criticism as much as it is recognising and appreciating effectiveness. Mathilda's goal is to avenge the death of not her family as such, but her little brother who she deemed was innocent at merely eight or so years old. By this rational, her mother and sister were also innocent but Mathilda just doesn't appreciate them as much to avenge their deaths. The film's principal study begins with its hero on the verge of suicide, as a scene over the phone with a correctional institute tells us: Mathilda mimics her mother and tells the woman on the phone that Mathilda's death is the reason she hasn't been attending school. It is the low point of Mathilda's life and occurs just prior to the point of no return in which corrupt DEA officers blow away the rest of the family. The point of no return is signified beautifully as Mathilda walks past the wreckage of her apartment, gazing in slow motion, and rings the bell on Léon's door – the door opens and light fills the screen as she is accepted.

The film actually fills up a lot of its time prior to this with Léon himself, not necessarily tricking the audience as to who the film will be about, but informing us of the type of person that awaits Mathilda. Indeed, the opening scenes or indeed shots of the camera towering over Central Park and down a New York street presents to us the location of New York in all its grimy glory as we delve deep within the heart of the city, all the time the tracking shots getting closer to ground level and all the time getting nearer to its destination, a café run by a man named Tony (Aiello). The first we see of Léon are his round sunglasses, creating a physical barrier between us, the audience, and the identity of this man whom downs glasses of milk in no time and talks casually about killing people for money.

But the following scenes of Léon happy, enjoying himself and getting on with ironing and watering plants breaks off from stereotypical hit-man personas and gives us a different light. This leads to Léon's first encounter with Mathilda during which he tells her life is "always like this", this twinned with the fact we know she's potentially suicidal makes the audience uneasy. But, she seems jolly and happy when she goes to the store for Léon – she is out and about and doing something for someone else that she deems worthy of such attention, which will echo the understanding and the relationship they'll soon have. Incidentally, later on Tony's warning about change being 'a bad thing' and that Léon was in trouble before over a woman paints a potentially ominous picture.

The villain of the piece is Norman Stansfield (Oldman) who is a very intimate and aggressive character and Oldman plays him in a way that suggests someone who could go from green to red or from calm to sociopathic in a matter of seconds. The fact he tells one of his men to tell the police that "we were doing our job" hints that the sort of prior violent activity is not unfamiliar to Stansfield and co. further creating a dangerous opinion of the characters in our minds – they are not to be messed with. Léon is a tale of a young protagonist having to learn the hard way and still not really being up to scratch; it is a hybrid of crime, drama, romance and tragedy that spirals out of control but remains dramatic and heart wrenching all the same – Besson has made few English language films but there will always be Léon.
2008-12-05
A brilliant film that helped define a genre
I love this film. I loved it when I saw it in the 90s and I love it today. In fact, after watching it again 5 or 6 years ago, we named our first born son Leon because of this film. He's not chosen a career path yet...No spoilers here, just to say if you like gritty and cinematic but great acting and quirky, disturbing yet somehow still believable characters mostly mixed up by chance and misfortune in a great story. Then this is for you.

I also noticed some people giving it a rating of 1 because they felt it was a 7.5 not an 8.7...please don't do that, you idiots. Just vote what you think is fair and leave it alone. The voting system levels itself out, you just f*ck it up trying to play God.

WATCH THIS FILM...you'll not regret it. And if you don't like it, you shouldn't be allowed to vote because you clearly have something wrong with you and should have people controlling your internet access.

But if you do like it...watch Way of the Gun afterwards, it's nearly as good in a slightly different way.
2012-09-05
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