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Léon: The Professional (1994)

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Reviews

10/10: An Action Film For Lovers...
Friday, November 24, 2000

An Action Film For Lovers With enough blood and gore to please any fan of action movies, and a unique love story to please the ladies, this is a great movie for couples to watch together. However, to truly comprehend the beauty of this film, you must see the European Cut.The U.S. version is still a great movie, but it cuts out 24 minutes which contain much of the heart of the movie and most of what makes the film a work of art instead of the usual action fodder. Elements of the story which are only hinted at in the U.S. cut become the centerpiece of the story when the un-cut version is seen.The two main characters are a recently-orphaned girl who is wise beyond her years and a hitman who is still an innocent. Their relationship unfolds against a backdrop of murder and revenge as director Luc Besson explores issues of age...

10/10: A shameful praise of a...
Tuesday, December 21, 1999

A shameful praise of a fantastic film. Leon (Jean Reno) is a tortured soul. He lives in squalor and misery, never truly happy or at peace with himself. After all, he is a hitman. He lives quietly from kill to kill, harming no-one whom he has not been paid to assassinate. He is a simplistic, childlike man who lives by his own set of morals but is troubled by them. The one thing he seems to fear above all else is change.Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is Leon's neighbour. A young girl, she lives with her father, step-mother, half-sister and half-brother. As unhappy as Leon, she lives in awe of the dark stranger, unaware of his true profession. Beaten by her parents and sister, she has abandoned school and instead spends the day watching cartoons and trying to escape from the real world.When Mathilda's family is brutally murdered by a drug crazed Norman Stansfield...

10/10: A Brilliant Conflict This film...
Friday, August 14, 1998

A Brilliant Conflict This film, better known in the U.S. as "The Professional", is a wonderful and intense film. Jean Reno plays his role as a "cleaner" with incredible subtlety. Leon tries to keep his emotions completely suppressed, yet Matilda (in an extraordinary performance by a young Natalie Portman, who is destined to become a very powerful actress into her adult life) bring out in him a new-found joy for life that accompanies his growing paternal instincts. But, the most dynamic element of this film is undeniably Gary Oldman's performance as a wildly sadistic and crooked DEA agent with his own narcotic-induced demons. His obsessions eventually lead him to the brink of absolute madness in his hunt for the cleaner. Truly, this is Oldman's finest performance to date, worthy of Oscar glory, though sadly forgotten. And so, Luc Besson did indeed top his triumph of "La Femme Nikita" by far with this masterpiece. Though, I...

10/10: Excellent, smart action film. Luc...
Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Excellent, smart action film. Luc Besson's "The Professional" is sort of a companion piece to his international breakthrough hit "La Femme Nikiti", and in many ways it's an even better film. It 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. Jean Reno is excellent as her assassin trainer and surrogate father. Oldman is completely over the top in one of his best bad-guy roles, obsessed with both Beethoven and butchery. As a gritty, suspenseful thriller, this film won't leave action fans feeling cheated, but the film is so much more than that. At the center of "The Professional" is a wonderful father and daughter-like relationship between two damaged strangers who find solace in each other.

10/10: Very well executed This film...
Sunday, August 27, 2000

Very well executed This film was absolutely amazing. I have spent hours re-watching various scenes and noticing all the perfection with which they are acted and directed. It's not the violence or action sequences that make this movie so great (although they are well done...), but rather moments like where Mathilda knocks on Leon's door. It would be so easy to just film the door opening, but instead we see light illuminating Natalie Portman's face, symbolizing something angelic. And the moment has so much more meaning.I know a lot of people who have seen this film because they are action fans. I'm not. But I'm glad I finally found it, because it's a wonderful film in so many other ways.

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