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.
|Release Date||:||September 14, 1994|
|Genres||:||Thriller, Crime, Drama|
|Production Company||:||Columbia Pictures, Gaumont|
|Production Countries||:||France, United States of America|
|Casts||:||Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel, Willi One Blood, Don Creech, Keith A. Glascoe, Michael Badalucco, Ellen Greene, Elizabeth Regen, Carl J. Matusovich, Frank Senger, Stuart Rudin, Lucius Wyatt 'Cherokee', Maïwenn, Eric Challier, Luc Bernard, Arsène Jiroyan, Geoffrey Bateman, Joseph Malerba, Adam Busch, Jessie Keosian, George Martin, Jernard Burks, Matt De Matt, Kent Broadhurst, Tommy Hollis, Peter Linari, Samy Naceri, Christophe Gautier, Junior Almeida, David Gregg, Michel Montanary, Hervé Husson, Didier Legros, Marc Andréoni, Gilles Kleber, Alex Dezen|
|Plot Keywords||:||new york, corruption, assassin, police brutality, loss of family, s.w.a.t., immigrant, hitman, training, revenge, murder, loneliness, neighbor, tragic love, cult film, neo-noir, complex relationship, complex characters|
With enough blood and gore to please any fan of action movies, and a unique love story to please the ladies, this is a great movie for couples to watch together. However, to truly comprehend the beauty of this film, you must see the European Cut.
The U.S. version is still a great movie, but it cuts out 24 minutes which contain much of the heart of the movie and most of what makes the film a work of art instead of the usual action fodder. Elements of the story which are only hinted at in the U.S. cut become the centerpiece of the story when the un-cut version is seen.
The two main characters are a recently-orphaned girl who is wise beyond her years and a hitman who is still an innocent. Their relationship unfolds against a backdrop of murder and revenge as director Luc Besson explores issues of age and maturity, good and evil, and the interplay of life, death and love.
The acting in this film is superb. Reno has an expressive face which conveys a myriad of emotions with great sensitivity and few words. He is cold as ice as the almost super-human 'professional', but his performance is most moving when he reveals his sensitive side. Watching as his wounded soul slowly begins to heal is enough to touch the heart of any woman, but it is handled so subtly that it never becomes too 'sappy'.
In her film debut, Natalie Portman turns in a performance that is beautiful beyond belief. She manages the transition from a frightened child to a woman capable of killing so convincingly that it makes the relationship between she and Leon not only believable, but understandable.
Gary Oldman is just the best psycho there is, and it is kind of nice to see him without all the strange makeup for a change. As a dirty cop in this film he personifies evil, and it is a joy to watch him do his thing.
The special effects are all you could hope for. Besson does great actions scenes - especially the explosions. There is also a lot of humor and when you throw in the tender love story - this picture has it all!