Write descriptive essay about Leon: The Professional movie 1994, write an essay of at least 500 words on Leon: The Professional, 5 paragraph essay on Leon: The Professional, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
Leon: The Professional
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
Luc Besson
Jean Reno as Léon
Gary Oldman as Stansfield
Natalie Portman as Mathilda
Danny Aiello as Tony
Peter Appel as Malky
Willi One Blood as 1st Stansfield man
Don Creech as 2nd Stansfield man
Keith A. Glascoe as 3rd Stansfield man (Benny)
Randolph Scott as 4th Stansfield man
Michael Badalucco as Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene as Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen as Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich as Mathilda's Brother
Frank Senger as Fatman
Storyline: 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.
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a symphony in film
luc besson will never top this movie. This is his benchmark, his classical composition. Look at the precise, intricate scenes. It's a symphony in cinema. Straight off, it's action. Intelligently shot, and scripted. It makes everything that follows hard to live upto. But it does so easily. It's stylish without being showy, it's deep without being sentimental. And it's just hugely enjoyable. Seeing the friendship between newly orphaned mathilda and skilled assasin leon bloom, is tenderly done. At risk of slipping into a sappy bond, besson keeps it easy on the emotions, without coming off as shallow.

The actors are all spot on, most notably the debut from a young natalie portman as mathilda. Showing an angry, sad, pent up, in love girl is no simple task but she breezes through it, touching all the right notes. And jean reno as the title character, is minimal but very effecting. Hard to understand, but easy to relate too. But gary oldman steals it, with his glorious overacting. He's as scary as he is determind. His line delivery is almost perfect. And his fate is very fitting. If only they made more intelligent action movies, then they could contend with this film. But as it stands right now, leon is one of the best action dramas ever made.
Leon: The Professional (1994) - Natalie Portman is Smoking at Age 12 in this Movie, and Jean Reno Drinks Too Much Milk!
Written and directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson, "Leon: The Professional" is thrilling hit-man movie on the outside, but a touching friendship story on the inside. The movie begins with Leon, portrayed by Jean Reno, a hit-man who takes in a 12-year-old girl named Mathilda, portrayed by a young Natalie Portman in her feature film debut, whose family has been murdered by a corrupt DEA agent, portrayed by Gary Oldman. With the help of a friendly mobster, by Danny Aiello, and this weird 12-year-old girl, Leon will try his best to protect from this corruptive agent. "Leon: The Professional" is a mixture of action and heartwarming drama. This movie takes us on explosive action scenes, while warming our hearts with the friendly chemistry between Leon and Mathilda. Jean Reno delivers the best performance of his career as the milk-obsessed hit-man. Natalie Portman makes a pretty-well portrayal for her big-screen debut. Gary Oldman steals the show as the murderous and mischievous agent of corruption. Danny Aiello makes a sweet and tough impression in his character, as well. The dialogue is sharp, the direction is well-managed, the acting is well-crafted, and the action scenes are thrilling. This movie also has a big heart, when talking about this unlikely friendship between this hit-man and a little girl. It's a cinema favorite for all you movie buffs. It has a well-crafted premise, and this is a movie that really works. This movie is definitely a must-watch. "Leon: The Professional", in my review, "an impressive mob story, with unique elements".
An Unclassifiable Classic
This is a movie difficult to classify in any genre - which is a big part of what makes it a seemingly timeless classic.

Other reviews have described in detail the essentials of the plot, and the chemistry between the actors, so I will not go over such things in any detail. Rather, I will concentrate on my impressions while watching this movie for the first time - which I did just the other week.

For years, I had been vaguely aware of this film, but I never bothered to check it out. The reason was that I assumed that it was basically a "mob movie" about a hit-man - a genre I'm not particularly interested in. Which, in once sense, it is. However, it is much more than that, as I discovered when I finally got around to seeing it.

When I started watching this movie, at first I found my impressions confirmed, as it opens with an apparently unstoppable mob assassin 'hitting' a group of drug dealing mooks. This opening scene was interesting in that the viewer never sees the killer directly - only in hints. This adds to the sense he's like a shadow or a ghost, an unstoppable force.

However, the viewer soon discovers he's very much a human - and a sad, lonely one at that, living a marginal life in a slum with only his plant for company. At the same time, the viewer is introduced to Mathilda, the young neighbor girl who lives next door - who also lives a sad, lonely and miserable life.

Soon, the unstoppable assassin saves the young girl from the hit squad of drug-dealing cops- and that's when the movie changes ... from a more typical mob shooter into something very like a (very) dark romantic comedy/drama. This I was not expecting. I was sort of expecting that the hit man would protect the girl, who would be more of a non-entity - a "MacGuffin" if you will (a joke they employ in the movie itself - at one point, she registers them in a hotel under the name "MacGuffin").

As a viewer, I watched the unfolding sexual tension between the girl and the killer with uneasiness and dismay. Which appears to have been exactly the point the film-maker was making. The viewer is kept uneasy, not knowing exactly where this relationship is going - just how transgressive it is going to be ... is Mathilda actually "in love" with Leon? Is this "love" returned? Or is Mathilda just manipulating Leon to convince him to help her carry out her revenge? The answer appears to be a bit of "yes" to all the above - though Leon displays no sexual interest in Mathilda, he clearly grows to "love" her (in the sense of wanting what is best for her, even above his own self-interest).

Mathilda, on her part, is certainly not above lying and manipulation in order to get what she wants. While she expresses her love for him repeatedly, to the point of outright propositioning him for sex, it is pretty clear that this sexual aggressiveness is the result of her abusive upbringing and her desire for adulthood - to her, it would seem, "love" means "sexual love" only, as she has never seen any other kind (other than "cuddling" with her baby brother). She both needs Leon (to carry out her revenge) and "loves" Leon (the only adult who has ever been kind to her). In that context, her declarations are both an attempt to bind Leon to her, a sort of manipulation, and the only expression of an "adult" type love she can understand.

The point is that this is a surprisingly deep and sensitive exploration of a relationship, and nothing like what one would expect from a typical action movie. For me at least, this raises the movie to the level of a classic.
A French Cleaner with a difference...
On paper, the plot line for this film is an absolute nightmare – controversial and even sick if handled by the wrong director. And yet Luc Besson conjures up an intricate, touching and taught thriller which ranks as a landmark piece of cinema.

Leon is essentially a love story between a French hit-man (referred to as a 'cleaner') and a 12 year old girl whose family are brutally murdered by a monstrous DEA official come drug dealer (Gary Oldman).

Leon (Jean Reno) is a meticulous assassin carrying out $5000 hits for the Italian underworld. He never actually gets paid as his boss Tony looks after his money for him (safer than a bank) though the reality is that he is being fleeced. He is socially and emotionally like a child – his simple life consists of drinking milk, watching Gene Kelly films, caring for a plant and sleeping upright in a chair with a gun by his side. He can't read and lives a solitary existence.

His life changes when one day, a 12 year girl called Matilda (Natalie Portman) returns to the apartment building with some cartons of milk for him. As she walks past her own apartment to knock on Leon's door she sees that her family have been brutally murdered. In tears, she pleads with Leon to open the door, starting a relationship which ultimately ends in tragedy.

Leon reluctantly takes Matilda under his wing and teaches her the skills of the expert hit-man because it's all he knows and over time they form an unbreakable bond.

The film works for two simple reasons – Portman's pre-adolescent character means that she is too young to truly understand the implications of what she saying i.e. about love and sex. In Leon's case, he is in some ways even more of a child and therefore incapable of taking any sinister advantage of the situation. The result is a touching love story without any hint of perversity - their love is genuine but there is no hint of it crossing the lines of common decency. The controversial scene where Matilda asks to sleep with him was cut in the American screening and yet it is clear that Matilda doesn't really understand what she is saying nor does Leon have any intention of entertaining the prospect. The way in which they say goodbye to each other in what turns out to be the very last time is very much in the father daughter mould.

Besson came up with Leon's character from a bit part Reno played in a previous film, La Femme Nikita , and the way Reno portrays Leon quite rightly turned him into an international movie star. His understated performance in direct contrast to the brashness of Matilda, is perfectly judged and the empathy you feel for his character is almost immediate.

Gary Oldman's role is brutal, terrifying and wonderfully sinister. A glorious, over the top, drug fuelled nutcase with a passion for Beethoven.

But it is Portman who steals the film and quite rightly so. When Luc Besson casted for the part of Matilda, he wanted someone young – somebody who did not understand the meaning of love. In her screen test, Portman was told the scene – that she is walking towards Leon's apartment when she discovers that her family including her 4 year old brother have been brutally murdered. She started to cry immediately – Besson had found her Matilda.

It is amazing that Natalie Portman appeared in the awful Star Wars Prequels after a giving such a wonderful performance in Leon. There are very few child actors who could have delivered an acting master class like this – the only comparison I can think of is Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. Even more remarkable, Portman had received little in actor training or experience before this film. During the making of the movie, the first time she had to be tearful, the crew used methanol to help her appear to be crying. She only used this once, as she was able to generate the emotion and tears by herself - quite a feat for an 11 year old girl.

Fortunately, Natalie had very good parents who had certain control over the way she was used in the film. You never see Matilda draw on a cigarette and she gives up smoking later in the film. A planned shower scene where Matilda prances around naked was thankfully scrapped.

Leon is a film of many complexities and one of the best thrillers I have seen personally. Whether you see it in the normal or Directors Cut version (the long version as Reno calls it), it's a must have. We must also hope that Besson writes a script for a new film, Matilda, so we can all see what happens to her character in the future. Portman has already stated she would do this at the drop of a hat, relishing the chance to work with Besson again – here's hoping.

It is a magnificent piece of cinema.
What else can I add to the reviews? The music is great!
First of all, I emphasize once again that the long version not released theatrically in the United States, known as Leon (as opposed to The Professional) is a much stronger film.

Story with soul. Great chemistry between the leads. Characters you really care about. Style. Carefully crafted action. Artistic cinematography. Rhythmic editing.

Luc Besson and his crew really hit the sweet spot with this movie. 10/10

Anyways, most other reviewers have covered almost all the strengths of this wonderful movie, so there is really nothing I can add here except a reviewer-neglected element: the music.

There are two pieces, one by Bjork and another by Sting for the credits that are really really good. All other music is composed by Eric Serra as far as I know.

Eric Serra is known for collaborating with Luc Besson, and here for Leon he puts out one of his best scores. It is well written, and very well edited together into the film. Turn off the music, and you will see how much tension it serves up in scenes like the slaughter/"please open the door!" scene, e.g. when the slick hair goon turns toward Leon's apartment suspecting Mathilda just went in there, the music reflects his escalating threat. The soundtrack also features well crafted sound effects that go along very well with the footage -- it is not just music in the traditional sense.

The character themes, Mathilda's Tony's Leon's really fit the Wagnerian ideal of using music to define a character. Leon the cleaner's theme is especially moving, yearning frustration loneliness despair. This is one of the most memorable character themes, up there with classics such as Darth Vader's Imperial March. You see Leon the cleaner, you hear the music. You hear the music, you feel Leon the cleaner.

The music that is used during the montage scenes (e.g. the gum trick and hitting clients to rhythmic electronica) works great.

Enough reading my lame comments, if you have not done so, go and see this movie!
Amazing Movie...
Besson seems fascinated by the "Pygmalion" story, by the notion of a feral street person who is transformed by education. He crosses that with what seems to be an obsession with women who kill as a profession. These are interesting themes, and if "The Professional" doesn't work with anything like the power of "La Femme Nikita," it is because his heroine is 12 years old, and we cannot persuade ourselves to ignore that fact. It colors every scene, making some unlikely and others troubling. The film opens with one of those virtuoso shots which zips down the streets of New York and in through a door, coming to a sudden halt at a plate of Italian food and then looking up at its owner. Besson must have been watching the opening of the old Letterman show. The man eating the food is a mob boss, played by Danny Aiello, who wants to put a contract on a guy. The man who has come whizzing through the streets is Leon (Jean Reno), a skillful but uneducated "cleaner," or professional hit-man. We see him at work, in opening scenes of startling violence and grim efficiency. In the course of the movie, Leon will, in effect, adopt his neighbor Matilda (Natalie Portman), a tough, streetwise, 12-year old girl. She escapes to Leon's nearby apartment after her family has been wiped out by a crooked top DEA enforcer named Stansfield (Gary Oldman), who wants to kill her too. Matilda wants to hire Leon to avenge the death of her little brother; in payment, she offers to do his laundry. Leon wants nothing to do with the girl, but she insists, and attaches herself like a leech. Eventually she develops an ambition to become a cleaner herself. And their fate plays out like those of many another couple on the lam, although with that 30-year age difference. Matilda is played with great resourcefulness by Portman, who is required by the role to be, in a way, stronger than Leon. She has seen so many sad and violent things in her short life, and in her dysfunctional family, that little in his life can surprise her. She's something like the Jodie Foster character in "Taxi Driver," old for her years. Yet her references are mostly to movies: "Bonnie and Clyde didn't work alone," she tells him. "Thelma and Louise didn't work alone. And they were the best." (To find a 12-year old in 1994 who knows "Bonnie and Clyde" is so extraordinary that it almost makes everything else she does plausible.) So Leon finds himself saddled with a little sidekick, just when the manic Stansfield is waging a personal vendetta against him. Although "The Professional" bathes in grit and was shot in the scuzziest locations New York has to offer, it's a romantic fantasy, not a realistic crime picture. Besson's visual approach gives it a European look; he finds Paris in Manhattan. That air of slight displacement helps it get away with various improbabilities, as when Matilda teaches Leon to read (in a few days, apparently), or when Leon is able to foresee the movements of his enemies with almost psychic accuracy. This gift is useful during several action sequences in "The Professional," when Leon, alone and surrounded by dozens if not hundreds of law officers, is able to conceal himself in just such a way that when the cops enter an apartment in just such a manner, he can swing down from the ceiling, say, and blast them. Or he can set a trap for them. Or he can apparently teleport himself from one part of an apartment to another; they think they have him cornered, but he's behind them. So many of the movie's shoot-outs unfold so conveniently for him that they seem choreographed. The Oldman character sometimes seems to set himself up to be outsmarted, while trying to sneak up on Leon in any way not actually involving chewing through the scenery. The premise "La Femme Nikita" was that its heroine began as a thoroughly uncivilized character without a decent bone in her body, and then, after society exploited her savagery, she was slowly civilized through the love of a good, simple man. "The Professional" uses similar elements, rearranged. It is a well-directed film, because Besson has a natural gift for plunging into drama with a charged-up visual style. And it is well acted. But always at the back of my mind was the troubled thought that there was something wrong about placing a 12-year-old character in the middle of this action. In a more serious movie, or even in a human comedy like Cassavetes' "Gloria," the child might not have been out of place. But in what is essentially an exercise - a slick urban thriller - it seems to exploit the youth of the girl without really dealing with it.
One of the greatest films ever made
I first saw this movie a couple of years ago and to this moment I'm still impressed with it.

Luc Besson added a Masterpiece to international cinema. As you get more and more into the plot you start feeling all the emotions that impregnate the atmosphere.

The innocence of Leon, the tension between him and Mathilda, the noxious generosity of Tony and the psycho behavior of Stan.

You really want to watch this movie, as not everyday they make an action film as superb as Leon.

A thrilling crime film, in deep touch and care with the characters- Besson and Portman's best work to date
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 American audiences saw in 1994 and on cable. But it is also a must-see if you are planning to see the film. It's not a long movie, though it gives a good many details in its story.

Jean Reno has his star-making turn (at least for what he's worth) in Leon- he's ruthless contract killer who will kill just about anyone for the right price. He lives out of an apartment by himself, trying his best to ignore his noisy neighbors. One of the daughters is Mathilda (Natalie Portman, also a major breakthrough performance), abused by her whole family to no end. When a corrupt cop (Gary Oldman, one of the key villain performances of his career along with Dracula and Drexl in True Romance) goes and kills off her family while she's away, she has no one else to turn to besides the reclusive killer. She knows what he does, and she wants in. The rest of the film is about their relationship, as it unfolds professionally and emotionally, leading to a tremendous, bloody climax.

One thing that struck me most about Leon is the fact that the film was more disturbing than I expected. The idea of a killer getting a pupil in a young teenage girl is unusual enough, but the way it unfolds I felt so much for her plight got to me at times. this doesn't make Leon a tear-jerker (maybe for some, I'm not sure), but because of Portman's dead-on portrayal, it makes the story work somehow, and is in a way as fantastical as it is naturalistic. There are also a few scenes that stuck out as being little masterpieces of all the elements coming together. The first is a brief scene, and crucial to showing the character of Leon early on- he takes a break after his contract, and sees a movie, a musical with Gene Kelly. He's the only one in the theater, and he is completely in the grasp of what he sees on the screen. It's the perfect touch of humanity and shows his only escape is into complete fantasy.

The second is when Leon and Mathilda are in a restaurant, after she has just gone through a day of training (there's a hilarious montage that follows this scene). Mathilda is getting drunk off of champagne, rambling with words she may or may not mean. Suddenly, she starts laughing, and she laughs more, and harder. People in the restaurant look at her like she's nuts. Leon is, of course, embarrassed. However, I thought this was just the right touch to this scene, where the kind of father-daughter relationship going on between Leon and Mathilda is revealed. It's not exactly funny, not even really cringe worthy. It just is. The third scene is when Mathilda decides to pay a visit to the man who murdered her family. She follows the man into the bathroom, and waits. Suddenly, he (Oldman) appears out from behind a door. The language used, the tenseness of the two off of one another, it's simply the most terrifying scene in the picture (aside from the first violent turning point).

So, basically, when Leon finished, I think I realized that my reaction was this: if I had seen this film when I was younger, be it in high school or even middle school, I would've responded to it even more strongly than I do now. There's something very visceral about the nature of violence and killing, as well as the mentor/pupil relationship, that Besson really gets down pat. While some of the situations have the chance of slipping into clichés, it doesn't happen very often. Leon: The Professional, is hard-hitting when it has to be, soft and funny when it can, and does stay with the viewer a few days after it's over.
Captivating movie !
I have actually seen the cut version of Leon couple of yrs back and though it did impressed me then, it was not until I have seen it again on video that it captivated me ! Since then I think I must have seen it more than 30 times ? And every time I have re-watch it, it will seem like I am watching it for the first time and the anticipation is still there, that's how good the movie is for me.

I am excited as after so many yrs, this movie is still talked about.

The story plot is interesting to watch as it unfolds showing how Leon does his work professionally without having to worry about other things and later how his life is changed by Mathilda.

The directing is superb by Luc Besson and the music by Eric Serra sets the mood for each scene, intensifying the story.

Jean Reno's role as Leon is also superb as it brings out the character of Leon. Jean Reno is a great actor and he is believable in the roles he plays, he can be funny as in comedies (Just visiting) but serious/cool in others (Leon/Ronin/La grand Bleu).

Natalie Portman is a natural actor who holds well in the role of Mathilda.

A Personal Best for Both Besson and Reno
Perhaps Luc Besson will one day make another truly great film. Perhaps Reno will once again garner better roles than a French DOI officer battling a giant lizard in New York. But it doesn't matter if they don't.

By pairing for this masterful movie the two have produced a film which will definitely live on throughout history long after all of the riff-raff-flicks are lost and forgotten. This film is definitely deserving of a place in the top 50 films of all time.

Outstanding performances burn up this stellar flick. If you don't know the show's storyline, here's the short-short version. An immigrant hit-man (Reno) becomes responsible for, and eventually falls in love with a young girl, Mathilda (played marvelously by Natalie Portman) whose family was murdered by a dirty DEA agent (the always superb Gary Oldman) and his team. Our heroic hit-man must protect the girl and avenge her family's death.

More than just a compelling action drama, the film focuses its attention on the truth of humanity that people are social creatures and need companionship. While at first Leon is cold and commanding towards his young charge, he eventually warms to her more than he wants to admit to himself. When Mathilda's desire for vengeance places her in harms way, Leon's true feelings burst forth in a hail of bullets and bloodshed that would make the Terminator think twice about messing with this man.

The story is solid. The dialogue is honest and pointed. The action is spectacular. And overall, the direction is undoubtedly Besson's best. This film ranks exceptionally high on my All-Time Must-See list.
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