"Emotional, thrilling, dramatic, flawless and awesome all over."
Wow. What a fucking film. I missed this one totally on it's cinema release. No surprise as the French ain't my favorite subject. But wow.If Luc Besson makes 100 movies over the rest of his life, he'll never outdo this one. The Professional is just completely mind-numbing.
Jean Reno, an actor who can make the dumbest ass script in the world seem interesting (see French Kiss or Mission Impossible for proof) is Léon, a cleaner. Not the usual cleaner, but rather a cleaner of problems. An assassin. A complete professional, the top of his field, dangerous as hell and completely emotionless.
But Léon's world of sleep, exercise, watering plants and killing is kinda scuttled when his next-door neighbor and his family is blown away by Gary Oldman and gang, leaving only his neighbor's daughter, Mathilda (another brilliant Natalie Portman role), alive.
Léon and Mathilda, both victims of crappy unfulfilled lives, become begrudging friends, mostly through Mathilda's refusal to leave. But Mathilda has a plan. She wants to learn Léon's craft and pay revenge to the people who killed her family. She wants to be a hitman. What follows is a superbly acted, written and directed story of two unlikely friends torn between revenge and self preservation, love and hate.
The one downside I can see with this film is a not too uncommon problem - namely Gary Oldman hamming it up to extremes as the villain of the piece. He seems to think he's Ziggy Stardust at times, and it doesn't fit what is a completely compelling and realistic story, nor does it suit him as an actor we know is capable of so much more.
But the God-like acting of Reno and Portman, and some fair to middling support from Danny Aiello, not to mention Luc Besson's usual sublime direction, makes this film a stand-out.If you've not seen this movie, I heartily recommend it. It shall move you.