Leon The Professional (1994) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Mathilda, a twelve-year old New York girl, is living an undesirable life among her half-family. Her father stores drugs for two-faced cop Norman Stansfield. Only her little brother keeps Mathilda from breaking apart. One day, Stansfield and his team take cruel revenge on her father for stretching the drugs a little, thus killing the whole family. Only Mathilda, who was out shopping, survives by finding shelter in Léon's apartment in the moment of highest need. Soon, she finds out about the strange neighbour's unusual profession - killing - and desperately seeks his help in taking revenge for her little brother. Léon, who is completely unexperienced in fatherly tasks, and in friendships, does his best to keep Mathilda out of trouble - unsuccessfully. Now, the conflict between a killer, who slowly discovers his abilities to live, to feel, to love and a corrupt police officer, who does anything in his might to get rid of an eye witness, arises to unmeasurable proportions - all for the sake of a little twelve-year old girl, who has nearly nothing to lose. Runtime: 110 mins Release Date: 18 Nov 1994
This movie is rated 63 on the imdb top 250 movie list, showing that people obviously like this movie, and with good reason. But why the hell didn;t this movie garner at least one single oscar or golden globe nomination??natalie portman's performance was terrific as the emotionally ravaged matildha - best actress nomination for sure. jean reno should have been nominated for a best actor nomination. the fact that the audience is led to feel sympathy and sorrow for a hitman speaks words enough about his performance. gary oldman is fantastic as the corrupt and psychotic cop. his character is <more>
so repulsive and chilling, but at the same time so quirky and interesting to watch. best supporting actor nomination. luc besson. when this man will get some kudos for his work i never know. the professional, in my opinion, is his greatest achievement as a director and, considering the fact he has helmed classic cult films such as nikita and the fifth element, the professional must rate highly as one of the best films of the 90's atleast! best film and best director nominations should have been given. but no, it was all too easy to heap praise on the feel good movie forrest gump, and shun the movie that, through its intensity and tragedy, better highlights the value of life and love.
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 <more>
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!
Visceral and intelligent - Besson's masterpiece (by Twinsen61)
Leon is one of the most emotionally intense movies ever made. French director Luc Besson uses everything: actors, music, camera angles, lighting to create an unique experience - "It's not realism, it's not naturalism - it's heightened reality" as Gary Oldman very well put it. In "The making of The Professional" Besson says "If I imagine somebody in the street try to knock on my daughter, I kill the guy, in five seconds. I kill him, and I think "It's in me, I'm a beast!" On this part we can't forget that a part of us, the genetic <more>
things inside are much, much older than The Ten Commandments". He certainly uses visceral scenes to create very strong emotion in the movie - the blood running from Mathilda's nose or Stansfield's unforgettable "EVERYONE!" are just a couple of examples. The music and the sound are excellent and are used in a masterly fashion - you can hear Fatman's heart beating desperately or a low claustrophobic sound when Stansfield turns to look at Mathilda's father.However Leon does not work only on this primary level, it also has an intelligent story. It may seem to be almost a fairy-tale, but don't be fooled - just like his character Besson is serious. This movie has a message: without love we are dead, even if we don't see it. Only true love give meaning to our lives: "everything else reminds me a big yogurt: warm and rancid" as Mathilda says in the original script, which is available on the net under the name Leon Version 1. Is this true in "real life"? I don't know but this movie can make you wonder.Then of course there's the sensuality. It's hypocritical to deny it, the camera interacts with Mathilda in a mesmerising fashion. It's not sick and it's not degrading: it's art, subtle and beautiful.Leon is not perfect but it has so many great moments that all its flaws can be forgiven. It's a movie that really should not be missed, unless you are concerned with its amorality. And don't be - Leon is less violent than many action movies and the unusual relationship between the main characters is handled mostly with genuine feeling and tact.
A thrilling crime film, in deep touch and care with the characters- Besson and Portman's best work to date (by Quinoa1984)
I sensed that Luc Besson director of The Fifth Element and La Femme Nikita was, like Tarantino and many, many others before him, borrowed elements from various films and genres to create their own voice in the film. With Leon, I sensed him alluding to the crime films of France i.e. Melville , Hong-Kong i.e. Woo , and America i.e. Scorsese , and making it into his own special brand for the story and characters. That his style visually is as compelling helps a great deal. The international version which is the one I saw is a little grittier, and more suggestive, than the version most <more>
"I take no pleasure in taking life..." (by robelanator)
"...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 <more>
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.
Really nice concept, but grueling in execution (by cathcacr)
First off, lovers of this film need to get some film-viewing maturity. Take just about any film in the Top 250, and I daresay that very, very few will have this massive a gap of opinion between that of the "top 1000 voters" 7.6 average and the viewership at large 8.3 average . And there's a very good reason for this; an experienced viewer can separate the virtues from the vices of this film, and this one is too long on the vices. The set-up is great: merciless hitman is humanized, serves as protector and guide to young girl. This *could* have been a great movie had it not <more>
fallen so flat in how it's executed. Maybe it's something about kid actors, but the scenes where Mathilda Portman, who shows promising signs of her deficiences as older actress has anything to say draaaaaag on and on. For any number of reasons you can imagine, the dialogue is cause for nervous fidgeting. The attempts at humor make you wince. The attempts at profundity will make you laugh. The intriguing plot degenerates into artificial, sometimes preposterous, scenarios. The highlight of the film? Gary Oldman as the villain. That should tell you something right there. His flailing and jerking around in the police restroom was the most enjoyable moment of the movie. Maybe Oldman himself realized that this movie wasn't to be taken all too seriously. I wouldn't recommend the DVD version to anyone, as it makes the experience a grueling one. A ridiculous restaurant sequence, among other things, is removed for the American release. Would have made for an interesting "outtakes" section on the DVD, at best. I gave this one a 5/10. In the hands of a really skilled director and top-notch actors, this could have been great.
a great, if overrated movie. Portman is fantastic. (by jzathajenious)
Leon is a great action movie, that much is unarguable. the action set pieces are handled with great aplomb by Luc Besson, who certainly has shown with previous films that he can create a beautiful film visually, especially with action scenes. And yet Leon is also a great coming of age tale, with Natalie Portman putting in a great performance in a difficult role that would be above the ability of many young actresses.As much as i really like Jean Reno, he is not a nuanced actor. he is likable, charming in a dumb sort of way, but subtlety isn't his forte. good thing Leon is required to <more>
speak little, and basically maintain a gruff exterior and stoic facial expression the entirety of the movie...seriously, his beloved pot plant is more expressive ok thats a tad harsh, i know . it seems besson tried to inject some quirkiness into the character his best friend is a pot plant, he seems to exist purely on a diet of milk, he likes gene kelly etc in order to make him more interesting an unique, but these traits seemed tacked on.Then we go to the other end of the spectrum with Gary oldman's performance....haha, i mean WOW....great actor and I'm a fan of his overall body of work, but he so completely overacts and chews up the scenery every time he's on screen, it severely dampens my enthusiasm for the movie. every bit of body language, every word that he screeches, just sets my teeth on edge. just taking a pill supposedly to curb his psychotic tendencies? hmm, maybe up the dosage... involves shaking the little capsule tin up to his ear ??? then swallowing the pill, and having a full body convulsion, neck twisting while he groans loudly...i mean, a simple bodily function turns into a grand opera in oldman's hands, its ridiculous.This ridiculousness in the acting also extends to the story, which in some moments just made me shake my head in disbelief. the climactic action scene, where it must be close to 100 swat team are trying to storm an apartment to kill one man, oh, and using rocket launchers for gods sake is so over the top it robs the scene of any true tension, as its all so unrealistic. there are a multitude of such stupid, unrealistic moments that i could list at least another 10 without thinking about it. anyway, the movie has some serious flaws, i think I've made that pretty clear by now.But the Pro's do outweigh the Con's. as mentioned before Portman made the world sit up and take notice with her performance here.Between Reno's stonefaced acting, and Oldman's histrionics, sits a balanced, mature depiction of a girl on the cusp of puberty. Portman is magnetic and you cant help but fall in love with her like Leon does. So where do i sit with the whole age gap thing? to be honest its never really bothered me, bloody oldmans acting and the stories ridiculousness have always been my gripes with the movie. Portman and Reno certainly have a chemistry that works on screen, their scenes together are among the best, as their relationship grows from a father/daughter relationship to something deeper.And as mentioned before, Besson is a brilliant visual artist, no denying that. for all the weakness of the story, the visual beauty carries the film for all its 2+ hr length. Its just a shame that the films acting and plot leave me almost laughing in disbelief at its ridiculousness. Nevertheless, id give it a 7 out of 10, as its entertaining and re-watchable.