Léon aka The Professional pairs Jean Reno and then-newcomer Natalie Portman as a lonely hitman named Leon with a code of honor and a streak of decency with an abused, neglected and equally lonely child named Mathilda caught in the cross-hairs of a corrupt DEA and his murderous colleagues. Léon meets and grows to care for sullen Mathilda instantly when he moves into the meager apartment building she and her uncaring and criminally involved family reside-only her baby brother brings her any love or joy. Mathilda's life soon is in danger when her father crosses the sinister and psychotic, drug-addled DEA Stansfield, who executes her entire family and seeks to silence her. Léon takes Mathilda in and they forge a potent relationship that's something between best friends, substitute father/daughter and even unconventional lovers with coming-of-age undertones as the socially stunted Léon protects Mathilda and she seeks revenge for her little brother's death. The movie balances crime drama, action and thriller elements with a developing a subplot akin to a love story, as Léon and Mathilda's feelings blossom and redeem them both. While the notion of older man/younger girl bonding might well be off-putting for many, director Luc Besson manages to keep it innocent and focuses on how two hurt and lonely hearts might meet and discover love despite innumerable obstacles. Years later, this is one of those movies that can stand the test of time and be both entertaining and thought-provoking! For fans of Luc Besson films, a terrific Jean Reno, an adorable then-first-time actress Natalie Portman, and a scene-chewing Gary Oldman as the twisted main villain. A Classic.Erik M.
Continuity mistake: After Leon rescues Mathilda from the SWAT team and dodges the snipers, he shoots out a ventilation fan to make an escape route. He gets off two shots before we see the vent, but when it does we see about 7 bullet holes around the vent. Then the camera goes back to Leon as he continues firing. When the camera switches back, the holes around the vent are different. (01:27:05)
Trivia: There are many similarities between A Clockwork Orange and the film Leon. Both main characters 'Alex' and 'Leon' are seen drinking milk many times in the films. Stansfeild (Leon) and Alex (ACO) both listen to Beethoven to stimulate their violence and the song 'Singing in the Rain' is featured in both films.
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