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- 24 minutes that mean everything to the film....
The additional 24 minutes of footage make this movie finally come together for the viewer.
The scene of Tony's first face to face meeting with Mathilda , (glaringly absent from the first U.S. version)allows one see how she could approach him with familiarity later.
The restored scenes of Leon training Mathilda (in the use of firearms), and going on "cleaning" jobs, lends credibility to her having the idea she could take on the DEA.
And so on, and so on.
I considered it a excellent film before,but it is much more coherent and understandable with the re-insertion of the missing scenes.
- Luc Besson At His Finest!
"The Professional" is the thinking man's action flick. After seeing the original Americanized watered-down version, I was hooked. With the release of the uncut edition, many loose ends from the editied version are tied up. Perhaps the most compelling aspect is the inclusion of more of Leon's backstory, which helps audiences more closely relate to the hitman. I reccomend this version for anyone who enjoys a good action movie and can tolerate some violence and profanity.
As a side note, I bought this edition and had no problems with the video track--mine was mastered fine and worked properly, so I assume that the disc a customer made mention of on this site was part of a faulty batch of discs that was later corrected....more info
- The child like side of a contract murderer.
A professional hitman with a heart of gold. A bloodthirsty drug addicted cop. A young Natalie Portman. Very well done, and hugely entertaining....more info
- This story could have propelled a public outrage but stayed true to itself.
Luc Besson's "The Professional" raises the stakes of Besson's playful women-with-guns theme by making the heroine a 12-year-old, played by a then unknown Natalie Portman.
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 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 good and are used in a masterly fashion - you can hear Fat man's heart beating desperately or a low claustrophobic sound when Stansfield turns to look at Mathilda's father.
Leon however 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 mesmerizing fashion. It's not sick and it's not degrading: its 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.
- Unbelievably ridiculous but try not and be emotinally attached
Here is the rare film that combines a ridiculous storyline with a fabulous cast, great overacting, action, tenderness, angst and pathos and creates a winner you can't take your eyes, ears, heart or attention from. It will have you rooting for a serial killer who is teaching a 12-year-old the tricks of the trade. No kidding!
Jean Reno, who has probably never given a poor performance, is perfectly cast as an illiterate killer for hire. When Natalie Portman's family -- which lives in his building -- is murdered by bad cop-cocaine dealer Gary Oldman and crew, not yet teenager Portman survives and takes up housekeeping with the illiterate neighbor, a witness to the murders that is a full-time contractor to restaranteur Danny Aiello, playing the kind of gritty New York role that's made him famous.
You've probably already figured out this movie contains a lot of profanity, killing, bloodletting, foul play, and good guy-bad guy technique that's typical in this kind of urban drug-induced "police" drama. What you haven't figured out -- and what you won't until you see this film -- is the affectionate relationship it creates between older than her years but still youthful Portman and her new father figure and the way this relationship will addict you to this film.
Their relationship is about as connective as that torch you still carry for the high school sweetheart that got away. It sits beneath the surface eating up emotional bandwidth and retaining a place in your shattered psyche. The relationship between Portman and Reno (pronounced renn-Oh, not like the city in Nevada) will do the same thing to you.
I had no idea this movie, now 13 years of age, had all this going for it. It's a film that catches you unprepared. You want to see all the killing and be neutralized by its brutality. Yet this tender relationship between two down and out figures draws you in like a wet kitten at your front door whose mother was just run over by a car in the street. It melts your heart. Meanwhile, Gary Oldman is the [erfect foil, the epitome of evil. He gets his later in a memorable scene with our hero, Reno.
You have all this to look forward to as many times as you want by buying, renting, or borrowing this wonderful movie. My advice is to get on with it....more info
- A movie worth watching!
An excellent film, Leon a.k.a. the Professional, brings to the screen the story of a loner Italian hit man who moved to the U.S. to get away from his past, only to become attached to a little orphaned girl who will change his whole outlook on life...
Jean Reno, (a young) Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman and the rest of the cast, have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least! All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows (the chemistry is AMAZING)!
The setting, the plot, the dialogues, and the music are all wonderful!
In short, Leon is a movie definitely worth watching and one to seriously consider adding to your movie collection (if you haven't done so already)!
- The Professional
Excellent movie now a classic never get sick of watching, a must have for all movie buffs !...more info
- Uncut means Better
Having seen the 'movie released' version of Leon - The Professional I was very impressed with the international version. I enjoyed the exploration of the relationship between Leon and Mathilda and have to say I found it one of the most entertaining movies I've watched in a while. Leon does what he does and keeps his life simple except where it applies to his relationship with Mathilda. What develops here is a clear image of a man's desire to help this girl (who he loves both as a daughter and woman, although the movie subtly conveys the ability to keep the two apart.) Hey, in the end he does the bad guy and helps the good guy. What more could you ask for??
Great movie - great performances....more info
- Very Good Movie
This version of Leon: The Professional is dead on perfect. The picture and audio quality is top notch. There are some nice bonus features thrown in too. Great acting by Reno, Portman, and Oldman. The extended scenes give you an even deeper look into Mathilda's training and her love for Leon. I highly recommend this DVD!...more info
- Happy guy
Was completely satisfied with this purchase.
Exactly what I wanted and received it fast and safe....more info
- Compellingly Written, Directed, and Delivered
Growing up in New York City is never simple, even for the most privileged of adolescents. And the age of twelve is arguably the most impressionable period for a youngster. So when a young girl witnesses something exceptionally brutal, adolescence may evaporate just as the early morning dew. This is a slice of the dilemma that `Mathilda' (Natalie Portman) inherits in this film. "Leon," the title character played by Jean Reno, inherits Mathilda and the dilemma. Portman delivers a performance of circumstance well beyond her years with style, savvy, and intelligence. The powers that be could have easily entitled this one "Mathilda," because she creates the dynamics of the story, and adds a pleasant wrinkle to the neo-noir genre. However, it must be duly noted that Jean Reno renders a creative and daring portrayal of a heartless assassin who slips to care. ...more info
- A Real Guilty Pleasure
This is one of those flms they call "guitly pleasures," because it has some very sick messages but is uniquely appealing at the same time. I've watched it many times and bought severarl versions, the last being this one.
It's a very different story and a fascinating profile of a strange, likable loner hit-man and a tough little girl and how they help each other soften the other's personality; There are tremendous action scenes in the beginning and end, particularly the latter. The little girl Natalie Portman, as "Mathilda," does of the best acting jobs I've ever seen for pre-teen child. It is no surprise she has turned out to be a big star. Despite his profession, "Leon" (Jean Reno) is a very likable character and extremely contradictory, extolling admirable virtues to the little girl (no cursing, no smoking, choosing good friends, etc.) while at the same time teaching her how to shoot people and then using her as an accomplice to murders! Reno's voice is fun to listen to, really different from any other actor I've ever heard. Gary Oldman, as usual, is great at playing a whacked-out character. The more you watch this film, the more you appreciate his performance. Also, there is a very satisfying ending; Finally, I like the reat camera shots by director Luc Besson, who is known for some stylish movie-making.
The bad messages? Well, not only does nice-guy Leon teach Mathilda how to shoot people but (on this deluxe extended version) she gets drunk and later wants Leon to make love to her. Portman uses strong profanity throughout the film. I'm sorry, but a little girl doing and saying all of this is pretty sick! (What kind of parents, by the way, would allow their 11-year-old to play a role like this?) Finally, we see another film that makes a killer into the good guy and the police into the bad guys. Come on!
In the end, though, it's only a movie, just a fictional story and it's job is to entertain....and in that it succeeds amazingly well. This is great entertainment in a perverse way, which is why I re-purchased this DVD to get 24 more minutes of the film.
- The Professional
This is a fantastic movie. Jean Reno is absolutely marvelous as the hit man who takes in an orphaned young girl (Natalie Portman) after a crooked DEA agent (Gary Oldman) kills off her entire family. Reno brings depth, sensitivity and a true comedic flair to the character. Natalie Portman is, naturally, adorable and shows true skill in the role. And Gary Oldman? He's just brilliant. The best - that is the foulest, the most despicable - villain there ever was. You've just got to see this movie!The Professional...more info
Luc Bessons Leon is a spellbinding story of a Hitman and a young girl. The hitman 'Leon' is played by Jean Reno and 'Matilda' by Natalie Portman. Both are brilliant. The other major role in the film goes to Gary Oldman as the corrupt and psychotic Policeman 'Stansfield'. Oldman is typically over the top, but in this film it felt right.
The detail of the relationship between Leon and Matilda is left implied but unstated directly. It may be sexual, despite Matilda being underage, but somehow you accept that their relationship works. Although Matilda is the innocent because of her age (12), Leon appears on some level to be an innocent or simpleton as well. He is a deadly hitman, but he is being ripped off by the man who organises the jobs for him, and I never got the impression that he had a grip on anything other than how to kill people.
This is all done beautifully. Scene after scene will stay with you: The opening where Leon goes to visit the 'Fatman'. The early rampage by 'Stansfield' at the apartment when Matildas father is in trouble over drugs. The scene in the toilet at the Police Station. I could list a dozen memorable scenes quite easily.
One thing worth mentioning is that although a lot of bullets fly during this film, there are really no special effects, and yet it is effortlessly more entertaining than say Mission Impossible III (a random pick of a recent blockbuster) which is full of CGI effects and explosions. In Leon you care about the characters beacuse the script is good (the music is also an inportant factor as well). This film will affect you and despite the violence, and occasional black comic moments, you may well end up crying.
The longer version presented here has a fair amount of additional material, most noteably a much longer sequence where Leon is training Matilda. I have seen this version and the shorter version released in the UK and rate both versions equally highly. ...more info
- dvd review
Gary Oldham plays a bad guy so well and you will see that clearly in this movie. Natalie Portman was a young budding actor in her role, but gives a great performance with Jean Reno at her side. A keeper....more info
- Superb "Shoot-em-Up"/Redemption Tale
Mathilda is a bright 12 year old girl living with her awful family in a rundown tenement. She is emotionally ignored and physically beaten by her dope slinger father, her stepmother who dresses like a prostitute and her sister who seems to spend her life tightening her buttocks muscles to aerobices videos.
Mathilda's neighbor Leon is a quiet, brooding loner who performs mob hits through local mob contact Danny Aiello, who takes advantage of Leon's lack of education and language skills. Leon radiates disillusionment with his trade, but seems locked into what he does and does well.
Leon strikes a fatherly friendship with Mathilda; he taking pity on the sweet child and her unfortunate enviroment; she sadly desperate for stability and caring in her cruel world.
When renegade DEA man Gary Oldman and his combo posse of rogue agents and street thugs slaughter Mathildas family, Leon and Mathilda are forced together. Oldman soon comes to realize a witness from the apartment masscre may be alive.Little Mathilda becomes Oldmans target and detatched Leon's lonely life is invigorated as he uses his talent with firearms with his newfound role of paternal protecter of his charge.
Oldmans performance as a pill-popping dirty dealing cop is over the edge and the double life he leads somewhat incredible as he eases between dope ripoff and legit cop work without fear of detection. Jean Reno is superb in the silence and solitude of a borderline depressed thug who is probably raked with internal conflict over his line of work. Natalie Portman is Oscar material as a child who tries to be tough but in the end can only do what a child can do. Portmans portrayal is remarkably touching without being cloying or pandering and will probably warm the hearts of many who rent this for the gunplay.
GREAT FILM!!...more info
- So why was there never a sequel made?
Apparently we Americans can take carnage but not sex with minors? I saw this movie when it was originally screened as The Professional and could tell that it had been cut but didn't realize that it was many major plot points.
This movie is director Besson's masterpiece as well as Natalie Portman's first and finest performance. Some of it is kinda over the top-Gary Oldman's performance, Leon's initial cleaning and the final confrontation between Leon and Stanfield.
This version adds backstory and a really funny sequence in which Leon teaches Matilde how to be a cleaner. It also shows that Matilde is mature beyond her years and that Leon is a child in man's body. I think it is very insightful when she compares sexual initation to learning to smoke-she is a 12 year old smoker!!
I always thought that this movie deserved a sequel in which a grown-up Matilde becomes a cleaner carrying on Leon's legacy, claims the inheritance Leon left her from that snake Tony and finally finds love and security (maybe a narcotics squad cop). Natalie is still young enough do it and Jean Reno can appear in a Topper like role looking out for her and guiding her, capiche? ...more info
- Misleading Review
One of the reviewers mentions that this movie has an additional 15 minutes which were cut from the US version. This is not true, none of those scenes is present. I just bought and watched this version.
Nevertheless, the movie is excellent and I strongly recommend buying it....more info
- ITALIAN hit man
great movie, but the editorial reviewer of all people made a significant mistake, they wrote leon is a french hitman, no he is italian, tony is too, they even met at an italian restaraunt to discuss business, even gary oldman said "the same italian hitman i'm dying to meet him" he is an italian hitman, not french!!!!!!...more info
- not happy w/ the way I received DVD
I am not happy w/ the way I received this DVD. When I took it out of the box it was shipped in, I could tell that the DVD was loose in its case, rolling around. It is a Christmas gift so I am not opening it to check it. I am going to hope that the DVD is not scratched. I am very upset that the DVD showed up in this condition, and now I have to hope it's ok to give as a Christmas gift....more info
- The Loneliness Of The Short Distance Cleaner
First, a word of warning: Don't mistake the bland US version ("The Professional") with the genius of the original version ("Leon").
Leon (Jean Reno) is a man with a past; having fled to America to avoid prosecution for killing the man who murdered his love (the upper-class father of the girl, who'd rather see his daughter dead than involved with the lower-class likes of Leon), he's taken under the wing by Tony (Danny Aiello), who cultivates the murderous tendencies of the young lad, and turns him into the best of the best: a lone, dedicated "cleaner"; a professional hit man that knows no equal.
Mathilda (Natalie Portman's movie debut) is the daughter of a small-time drug-pusher, who shares her life with her little brother (whom she dearly loves), her dad (who beats her), her stepmother (who doesn't care) and her half-sister (with a mutual dislike that borders to hate). The dysfunctional family life has turned the 12 year old girl old before her age, and what little love and care she has left in her is devoted to her little brother.
The story of the movie:
D.E.A. detective Stansfield (a deliciously over-the-top performance by Gary Oldman) runs a little side-business - pushing drugs (what else?); when Mathilda's father decides to make a bit of a profit by holding back some of the drugs Stansfield left in his care, he invites the wrath of the detective, who - in a blind rage - murders the entire family. Mathilda, who was sent shopping before Stansfield and his crew arrived, comes back to the apartment while the carnage is still going on, and turns to the only other person in the apartment building she knows: Leon.
Reluctantly, he decides to let her into his apartment, and this is the start of an uncomfortable yet moving relationship between Leon, the lone cleaner, and Mathilda, the confused and angry little girl. It's a relationship that changes Leon's life profoundly, shakes him to the core of his very soul (a soul he'd denied having since having killed his one love's killer.)
The difference between "The Professional" and "Leon" (contains spoilers!):
"The Professional" is the American cut, which misses 24 minutes of the story; the cut was made because it was felt (rightly so, judging by some of the other reviews) that the American audiences would be uncomfortable with the original cut. "Leon" starts with the hit man on an assignment, sent out to teach a small-time drug dealer a little lesson (missing in "The Professional"); this scene is essential to introduce us to the man that is Leon the cleaner... an invisible force of violence that knows no mercy, with catlike moves and no qualms.
After this, we're introduced to Mathilda and her family, and the crazy (addicted and furious) detective Stansfield; after the carnage, Mathilda flees into the arms of Leon, and a one-sided love story develops, with Mathilda growing incessantly devoted to the cleaner; besides her wish to avenge her little brother's meaningless death, she clings to Leon with a passion she hasn't yet learned how to deal with - and all the time, Leon rejects her attempts to either make him her lover or her teacher.
When faced with her final rage and despair (another removed scene in "The Professional", where she holds a loaded gun to her head to drive the point through), he decides to at least meet her halfway... and because he can't love her the way she loves him, he offers her the next best thing, and the following cut (removed from "The Professional") shows Leon taking Mathilda out on his "jobs"... her initial training as a cleaner.
People who say that the original version is a perversion with pedophiliac tendencies haven't *seen* the cut... because even though Mathilda keeps pushing Leon towards her mistaken and misguided idea of love, Leon never gives in, except near the very end, where all he does is concede to lie next to her, to sleep, instead of sleeping in the armchair near his window. This is also the defining moment in Leon's life, where his soul-searching reaches an end... as one finds out in the tense and heartbreaking finale that follows immediately after.
All in all, where "The Professional" is just a decent action movie, "Leon" actually has a well-defined story to it (and real character development), that has you sitting on the edge of your chair for 2 hours and 16 minutes, with the occasional burst of laughter (Luc Besson always manages to add some - albeit dark - humor into his movies.)...more info
- Most convincing love story ever.
"I know what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to be an assassin. Like you." Spoken by a little [..]Natalie Portman, which becomes the earmark of my early attentions that this movie was more than your run of the mill movie. In fact, Natalie Portman may not have been the focus of this film but every ounce of her characterization of Mathilda stood out as owning this films reputation as an underground international hit. I can't give justice to the power she releases at the explosive ending with Leon that comes straight from some everyone-dies-Scorsese-mob-ending. Her invoking sobs are stomach clutching and her innate control is so fantastic it's frighteningly genius. It's almost impossible for me to discover the means for her to of have created such a complete character with such genuine passion when I consider the real life pressures such as the presence of people and running camera's absorbing every nuance of her countenance and paired against such dominating presence as Jean Reno and Gary Oldman no less! At film ending, I felt obligated beyond an audiance member, as if some member in an important film jury. Obligated to award that outstanding performance. Because in the movie business, audiences (unlike sports spectators who support having the best of athlets)do not reward the best of movie making. They rush to see movies like spider man 3, and oceans and reward them with unbelievable revenues that executives celebrate over. This under the radar revenge film with a bizarrly genius child actor was more than just a klatch of hollywood moments, it was a delicate lingo of sexual undertones. It was a 'becoming of age'-ness, and metamorphisized rebirth. This child was fantastic and worth droves of applause. She literally and metaphorically walks away from the hollywood glitch and glamour at some point. Away from the eye catching fire, and explosions. The throngs of police extra's, and of the cliche final showdown. She walks away as a child would, but with the aged spirit of a master actress, spliting the story in no better way for me into that scence of departure. One the one side is Leon, the revenge gun for hire story, and then the other of a precious girl coming of age under extraordinary circumstances which parallels the slave of Leon's rebirth from soulessness. "Is it always this hard?" She asks Leon with blood on her face. And as if questioning the validity of her own living, sweeps the blood with her hand and stares at it. "No." Exclaims Leon without emotion. Planted behind Leon's mirrory glasses at that moment is his rebirth. ...more info