Lon: The Professional (1994)

Aka: Lon

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Crime - Drama - Thriller | 110 minutes
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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.

As visually stylish as it is graphically violent, this thriller directed by Luc Besson concerns Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old girl living in New York City who has been exposed to the sordid side of life from an early age: her family lives in a slum and her abusive father works for drug dealers, cutting and storing dope. Mathilda doesn't much care for her parents, but she has a close bond with her four-year-old brother. One day, she returns from running an errand to discover that most of her family, including her brother, have been killed in a raid by corrupt DEA agents, led by the psychotic Stansfield...
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(Gary Oldman). Mathilda takes refuge in the apartment of her secretive neighbor, Leon (Jean Reno), who takes her in with a certain reluctance. She discovers that Leon is a professional assassin, working for Tony (Danny Aiello), a mob kingpin based in Little Italy. Wanting to avenge the death of her brother, Mathilda makes a deal with Leon to become his protégée in exchange for work as a domestic servant, hoping to learn the hitman's trade and take out the men who took her brother's life. However, an affection develops between Leon and Mathilda that changes his outlook on his life and career. Besson's first American film boasted a strong performance from Jean Reno, a striking debut by Natalie Portman, and a love-it-or-hate-it, over-the-top turn by Gary Oldman. Léon was originally released in the U.S. in 1994 as The Professional, with 26 minutes cut in response to audience preview tests. Those 26 minutes were restored in the director's preferred cut, released in 1996 in France as Léon: Version Intégrale and in the U.S. on DVD as Léon: The Professional in 2000.
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1994, New York. Léon is huurmoordenaar van beroep. Hij observeert het komen en gaan van de inwoners van een gebouw. Op dezelfde verdieping van Léon woont er een gezin waarvan de vader drugshandelaar is. De man wordt bedreigd door een zekere Stansfield, een louche agent die de volgende dag terugkeert en de man en de rest van de familie om het leven brengt. Enkel de twaalfjarige Mathilda kan ontsnappen. Mathilda wordt door Léon in bescherming genomen. Het meisje is vastbesloten zich te wreken en leert de knepen van het vak bij Léon.

The mood of Lon: The Professional is rough, suspenseful, and bleak. The plot centers around innocence lost, redemption, and young heroes. It is an action and thriller movie. Stylistically, Lon: The Professional is neo-noir. In approach, it is serious and realistic. The setting is New York. Lon: The Professional happens in the 1990s. The movie is known for being a modern classic, critically acclaimed, and an award winner.

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