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||:||corruption, police brutality, loss of family, s.w.a.t., lolita, drug stealing|
"...if it's from a person who doesn't care about it."
What really stands out for me (aside from the really excellent direction of the action sequences) is the too-brilliant for its own good script. Oldman,Reno, and Portman deliver lines that would seem goofy if spoken by lesser performers. Oldman especially chews the scenery in a way that's both amusing and utterly menacing. I wonder if his Beethoven obsession is a nod to the ultra-violent Alex from A Clockwork Orange?
The American version ("The Professional") was the first version I saw. I'd originally had no real intention of seeing it because I'd read a pretty savage review of it likening it to child pornography. Clearly this particular reviewer had his head firmly planted in his rear. I'm surprised he could find room what with that tremendous stick in the way. Anyway, once I finally saw "Leon" for myself - thanks to my cinemaphile grandfather - I observed no such thing. This wasn't smut, it was love. Leon has no interest in Matilda sexually, but loves her as a father would love a daughter.
If you have a choice then go for the longer director's cut. You get about 15 minutes more film - and not just filler. These are scenes that truly expand upon the story.
My only complaints are about the almost complete under use of the completely underrated Danny Aiello, and Oldman's single dimensional evilness.