Léon‘ (also known as ‘The Professional’) is a 1994 thriller film written and directed by French director Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno as a mob hitman, Gary Oldman as a corrupt DEA agent, 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.

Léon 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 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. Léon is to some extent an expansion of an idea in Besson’s earlier 1990 film, ‘La Femme Nikita,’ in which Jean Reno plays a similar character named Victor. Besson described Léon as ‘Now maybe Jean is playing the American cousin of Victor. This time he’s more human.’

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