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
Both Mathilda and Tony refer to Léon as a "cleaner". The front window of the bodega in Léon's apartment building prominently displays various cleaning products such as Brillo pads, bleach, Ajax, and soap. See more »
When Leon comes to the room he has blood on his right hand. When he gives Mathilda her present, there is no blood on his hand, nor when he answers the door for the hotel manager. He doesn't stain her dress either. See more »
Allora, come stai, Leone?
[Tony puts out his cigarette in an ashtray]
OK. OK. Let's talk business.
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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) See more »
An extended cut, retitled 'Leon: version integrale' was released in French cinemas on June 26, 1996. This version is 26 minutes longer than the previously released version and includes, amongst others, one sequence that was removed from the film after the disastrous tests with L.A. preview audiences. This version of the film is available on various DVDs, and is usually called the 'International Cut'. New scenes found in the International Cut include:
Mathilda asking Leon to have sex with her and Leon refusing;
Leon explaining why he had to leave Italy and go to New York when he was 19 years old;
Mathilda and Leon sleeping together in a bed;
Mathilda threatening to shoot herself playing Russian roulette.
Leon and Mathilda hitting the home of a tattooed drug dealer, and setting fire to his supply of drugs;
New training missions where Mathilda learns the ropes of becoming an assassin.
Leon and Matilda going to a restaurant to celebrate her first hit
"...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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