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Leon The Professional (1994)


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Luc Besson wrote and directed the 1994 English-language French action-thriller movie Leon:

The Professional[a]. In addition to Gary Oldman and Jean Reno, Natalie Portman makes her acting debut. The story revolves around Léon (Reno), a hitman who reluctantly adopts Mathilda Lando (Portman), 12, after Norman Stansfield (Oldman), a dishonest Drug Enforcement Administration agent, kills her family. Mathilda and Leon develop a strange bond as she becomes his protege and picks up his hitman skills. On September 14, 1994, Gaumont and Gaumont Buena Vista International released the movie in France, where it was well-received by critics.

Léon is an Italian hitman (or, as he prefers to call himself, “cleaner”) who lives in New York City’s Little Italy and works for a mafioso by the name of “Old Tony”. A lonely 12-year-old named Mathilda Lando lives with her chaotic family in a flat down the hall from Léon and has stopped showing up to her school for problematic girls, which is where Léon first meets her. Corrupt DEA officers are annoyed by Mathilda’s aggressive father because they have been paying him to hide cocaine in his flat. DEA agents raid the premises after learning that he has been stealing the cocaine, led by their boss, the dapperly attired drug addict Norman Stansfield. While Mathilda is out grocery shopping, Stansfield kills her family during the raid. Léon reluctantly offers Mathilda shelter as she returns, realising what has happened just in time for her to proceed down the hall to his flat.

Léon’s status as a hitman is swiftly discovered by Mathilda. Because she wants to exact revenge on the person who killed her four-year-old brother, she begs him to look after her and teach her his talents. Léon is first disturbed by her presence and considers killing her while she’s asleep, but he gradually instructs Mathilda in the use of numerous weapons. She cleans his flat, helps him learn to read and conducts his errands in return. Léon is an inspiration to Mathilda, who immediately grows fond of him and frequently tells him she loves him but receives no response.

Mathilda packs a backpack with guns from Léon’s collection and heads off to assassinate Stansfield while Léon is away on a job. She poses as a delivery girl to trick her way into the DEA headquarters, but Stansfield ambushes her in a lavatory. When one of his men comes, he is told that Léon killed Malky, a dishonest DEA agent, that morning in Chinatown. Léon rescues Mathilda after learning about her intentions through a note she left for him, killing two more of Stansfield’s men in the process. Tony is tortured while being confronted by a furious Stansfield over Léon’s location.

Léon explains to Mathilda how he got into the hit business. Léon’s family was impoverished, and when he was eighteen and living in Italy, he fell in love with a girl from a wealthy family. When the girl’s father learned of their elopement plans, he killed the girl out of rage. Leon murdered the father in retaliation before escaping to New York, where he met Tony and received hitman training.

Later, an NYPD ESU squad dispatched by Stansfield captures Mathilda as she enters her home after doing her grocery shopping and enters Léon’s flat. The ESU team is ambushed by Leon, who then saves Mathilda. By breaking a hole in an air shaft, Léon gives Mathilda a swift escape. Just before the ESU squad blows up the flat, he tells her that he loves her and asks her to meet him at Tony’s house in an hour. In the commotion, a hurt Léon sneaks out of the structure pretending to be an injured ESU officer. Everyone ignores him except Stansfield, who chases after him and shoots him in the back. Léon presses a grenade pin into Stansfield’s hand as he passes away and claims it is from Mathilda. When Stansfield opens Leon’s vest, he discovers a group of grenades, which explode and kill Stansfield.

When Mathilda approaches Tony to ask for a job, Tony vehemently rejects her and claims that Léon instructed him to give Mathilda his money if anything happened to him. when sending Mathilda back to school with a $100 allowance, the headmistress reaccepts her when Mathilda explains what has happened. As she had instructed Léon, Mathilda enters a field close to the school to ‘give it roots’ for the houseplant she had given him.

Leon The Professional (1994)
Leon The Professional (1994)

As Leon, Jean Reno
Mathilda Lando, played by Natalie Portman
Norman Stansfield is played by Gary Oldman.
As Tony, Danny Aiello
Matthew Appel portrays Malky, and Michael Badalucco plays Mathilda’s stepmother Margie Lando.
As Manolo, Adam Busch
Stairway by Joseph Malerba The Blond Babe, played by Swat Mawenn
As The Hotel Receptionist, George Martin
Cameo by Jean-Hugues Anglade
Benny Williams is portrayed by Keith A. The first Stansfield Man production was One Blood.Léon: The Professional is in some ways a development of an idea from Besson’s earlier 1990 picture, La Femme Nikita (also known as Nikita in some other countries). Jean Reno portrays a Victor-like figure in La Femme Nikita Besson said of Léon. He is more human this time.[10] Besson met Mawenn while she was a teenager, and the couple began dating when she was 15 years old. Mawenn, who was Besson’s wife at the time of filming, claims that their relationship served as inspiration for the story.[11]

The majority of the interior filming took place in France, although New York City served as the location for the majority of the exterior filming. served as the location for the last school scene.[12]

TriStar Music issued the movie’s soundtrack in October 1994. In Japan, it was a commercial success; 100,000 copies were distributed in December 1999, and it was awarded gold certification.[13]

Release Léon: On September 14, 1994, The Professional was made available in France.[2] The movie made nearly $45 million worldwide on a $16 million budget, making it a financial success.[4] It debuted in France with a gross of 26.8 million francs ($5.1 million) and remained at the top for three weeks.[14] 3,330,703 tickets were sold in France in total.[2]

Critical reaction
The movie has a 74% approval rating on . The opinion of the site’s critics is as follows: “Luc Besson’s Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller, centering on the peculiar relationship between an experienced hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice—a breakout performance by young Natalie Portman.”[15] The movie garnered “generally favourable reviews” at Metacritic, where it received an average score of 64 out of 100 based on 12 reviews.[16] On a scale from A+ to F, the movie had an average “B” from viewers surveyed by CinemaScore.[17]

Empire magazine’s Mark Salisbury gave the movie a perfect five-star rating. “This is, in a word, wonderful,” he observed, could bring.”[18] The movie received four out of five stars from Mark Deming at AllMovie, who called it praised Jean Reno’s performance as well as Natalie Portman’s and Gary Oldman’s over-the-top performances.[19]

“This is a Cuisinart of a movie,” wrote Richard Schickel of Time magazine in praise of the picture. “It mixes familiar yet disparate ingredients to create something odd, perhaps distasteful, but undeniably arresting out of them.” He called Oldman’s portrayal “divinely psychotic” and applauded it.[20] Oldman splatters his performance throughout the screen, whereas Reno plays it sparingly, according to Hal Hinson of The Washington Post. As this insane investigator, Oldman, who is the least restrained actor of his generation, holds nothing back. You have the want to retreat when the camera is pointed at him.[21]

The movie received two and a half out of four stars from Roger Ebert, who wrote: “It is a well-directed film, since Besson has a natural ability for diving into drama with a charged-up visual flair. And it’s done well.” He wasn’t wholly positive, though: “There was always the troubling idea that there was something wrong about putting a 12-year-old child in the heart of this activity…. It seems to exploit the girl’s youth without ever addressing it in what is simply an exercise—a stylish urban thriller.[9]

The Professional is considerably too emotional to sound even remotely shockingly immoral, according to Janet Maslin of The New York Times. It manages to be maudlin even in the grandiose violence of the ending. The majority of the movie’s sadism and many of its erroneously poetic feelings are expressed by Mr. Oldman.[22]

end-of-year lists
Betsy Pickle, Knoxville News-Sentinel, was given honourable mention.[23]
Marc Spitz stated that the movie is “considered a cult classic” in his Léon: The Professional was ranked No. 42 in a 2014 Time Out poll of cinema critics, directors, actors, and stunt performers regarding their favourite action films.[25] Since then, Norman Stansfield has been considered as one of the best villains in movie history.[26][27][28]

The English band Alt-J published a song titled “Matilda” [sic] about the movie. “This is from Matilda,” the opening line of the lyrics, relates to Léon’s final remarks to Stansfield just before the explosives explode and kill them.[29]

In 2015, for the bi-annual music festival of South Korea’s wildly popular variety show, Infinite Challenge, movie, “Leon”.[30]

The sequel Mathilda was written by Besson, but it wasn’t filmed until Portman was older. In the script, Mathilda was referred to as being “older” and “more mature” and employed as a cleaner. Besson, however, started his own film comresponse to its displeasure over Besson’s departure.[31]

Reporters were informed in 2011 by director Olivier Megaton and writer Luc Besson that Colombiana, a movie about a young maid performed by Zoe Saldaa, was based on the Mathilda script. Her character, like Mathilda, engages in conflict with a drug cartel in retaliation for the murder of her family when she was a young girl.[3

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