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.
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.Written by
J. S. Golden
A perfect assassin. An innocent girl. They have nothing left to lose except each other. He moves without sound. Kills without emotion. Disappears without trace. Only a 12 year old girl... knows his weakness. See more »
The scene in which Stansfield talks about his appreciation of Ludwig van Beethoven to Mathilda's father was completely improvised. The scene was filmed several times, with Gary Oldman giving a different improvised story on each take. See more »
"...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.
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