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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Léon (The Professional) - From My Old Blog

Léon (The Professional)

Frankly I didn't know about this movie until I had a conversation with my friends a few months ago. We were discussing about who was the most beautiful girl we had ever seen. And my friend said, "The little girl in the movie 'Léon' has been the most beautiful for me, even until now."

This sparks my interest. Why in the world will a little girl be so beautiful to someone? It was yesterday when I saw a photo album of Natalie Portman in China Facebook with the title that attracted me.

"The Little Girl in Léon, and Now The Black Swan."

I read the comments in the album and got to know that I could find the movie in XunLei. I decided to watch it.

The movie is the film debut of Natalie Portman in 1994, Portman was 11 when she first read the script and was offered the role.
This post is not going to be all about Natalie Portman. Yes, I'm in love with her, but I'm so much more in love with the movie. It touched me so so deeply, it still pain me whenever I'm thinking about it.

Léon (also known as The Professional and Léon: The Professional) is a French-produced English-language 1994 thriller film written and directed by French director Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno as a mob hitman, Gary Oldman as a psychotic DEA detective, and a young Natalie Portman, in her feature film debut, as a 12-year-old girl who is taken in by the hitman after her family is murdered by corrupt police agents.

Natalie Portman as Mathilda Lando. A little girl who lives with her dad, stepmother, stepsister and stepbrother. She only loves her 4-yr-old brother and hated the rest of the family. She was abused most of the time. That makes her mind so much older than what she appears to be.

Mathilda's dad had been paid by corrupt DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agents to store cocaine in his residence, but he had stole some for himself and got caught. A whole cadre of DEA agents stormed the building, led by the drug addicted psychotic Norman "Stans" Stansfield. He murdered Mathilda's whole family except Mathilda as she went out shopping for groceries that time.

When Mathilda came back and witnessed the carnage, she calmly passed by her apartment and walked straight to Leon's door. Leon was her neighbour, a man who seemed to lead a normal boring life. She held all the groceries she bought in her hands, and pressed the door bell, wishing for Leon to open the door for him. Coz if he didn't, she would be killed.

"Is life always this hard, or is it just when you're a kid?" asked Mathilda.
"Always like this." said Leon.

Mathilda realised that Leon was actually a hitman, or a "cleaner", as he called himself. She wanted to avenge for the death of the little brother she loved, so she asked Leon to teach her how to be an assassin. In return, she would do all the housework and teach him how to read.

Jean Reno as Leone "Léon" Montana is a hitman (or "cleaner," as he refers to himself) living a solitary life in New York City's Little Italy. His work comes from a mafioso named Tony (Danny Aiello), who operates from the "Supreme Macaroni Company" restaurant. Léon spends his idle time engaging in calisthenics, nurturing a houseplant that early on he describes as his "best friend," and (in one scene) watching old Gene Kelly musicals.

Here's the scene of my beloved Leon watching Gene Kelly. =)
He's in everyway as pure as a child. He can be indestructible when he is on his mission, but his life is as simple as you can think of. He only drink milk, taking care of "his bestfriend", a plant. He started his killer career when he killed a man when he was 19 for a girl he loved.

Leon with huge eyebags drinking milk. =)

Gary Oldman as Norman "Stans" Stansfield. The psychotic corrupt DEA agent leader. He truly defined the word "PSYCHO". I could feel my blood ran cold when I saw him. Especially the scene when he shook the box of green and white capsules and ate one capsule before he killed anyone.

Stans: I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin' and you can hear the insects. Do you like Beethoven?

The moment Leon opened the door for the helpless Mathilda, his life changed forever. Mathilda had let him had the taste for life, something he had never ever had before. 

Here's the plant that Leon said was his best friend.
"It's my best friend. Always happy. No question." said Leon.

Leon always make sure the plant gets sufficient sunlight and water. He even bring it along when he is on the run when Mathilda from the attack of DEA agents.

Mathilda realised that she had fell in love with Leon. This is my favourite part. =)

Mathilda: Leon, I think I'm kinda falling in love with you.
(Leon chokes on his milk)
Mathilda: It's the first time for me, you know?
Leon: (wiping himself off) How do you know it's love if you've never been in love before?
Mathilda: 'Cause I feel it.
Leon: Where?
Mathilda: (Stroking her stomach) In my stomach. It's all warm. I always had a knot there and now... it's gone.
Leon: Mathilda, I'm glad you don't have a stomachache anymore. I don't think it means anything.

These pictures are my fav. It was the scene where Mathilda tried to make Leon remember all the names of the famous ppl such as Marilyn Monroe, Chaplin and Gene Kelly. :) So she played this dress-up-and-act game and let him guess what character she was playing.

And when it was Leon's turn to act. He was so stiff!!! XD He was supposed to act John Wayne but super failed. In the end he gave up and didn't want to play the game anymore although Mathilda tried to cheer him up by saying he was amazing.

Mathilda acting as Chaplin! :)))

It totally broke my heart when Mathilda and Leon was trapped in a room surrounded with all the DEA agents outside. Leon used an axe to make a hole in the wall for Mathilda to escape, but he couldn't escape himself.
Mathilda: (crying uncontrollably) I don't want to lose you, Leon.
Leon: You're not going to lose me, you've given me a taste for life. I want to be happy. Sleep in a bed, have roots. And you'll never be alone again, Mathilda. Please, go now, baby, go. Calm down, go now, go.

Natalie and the director, Luc Besson, who also directed La Femme Nikita. =))) Love him!!!

Leon disguised as a wounded DEA agent during the attack and he was about to escape successfully. Unfortunately Stans recognised him, sneaked up to him and shot him.

Before he died, Leon handed something to Stans. It was a ring-shaped thing. He told Stans, "This is from... Mathilda."

It was a pin from a grenade. The whole building exploded and Leon died together with Stans. It was the last present he gave to Mathilda.
Gary Oldman with Natalie Portman.

Leon left a big sum of money for Mathilda at Tony's. Mathilda went back to the nursery school and the teacher demanded her to tell her the truth. Here was what she said to the teacher.

Headmistress: Now tell me what happened to you.

Mathilda: OK. My family they got shot down by D.E.A. officers because of a drug problem. I left with the greatest guy on earth. He was a hitman, the best in town, but he died this morning. And if you don't help me, I'll be dead by tonight.

It sounds so ridiculous and outrageous to the headmistress, but I felt so sad when she said it. ='(

Leon training Mathilda to be an assassin.

This movie truly touches me. The lines, the characters, everything. The love between a 40 yr old man with a 12 yr old girl seemed so absurd, but their life had shaped them differently. The young girl with an old mind and the old man with a pure childlike nature. What will happen when they come together?

Do go watch it or download it. And remember to watch The Long Version, which is around 133 minutes. ;)

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