Professional

Professional

4.5 30
Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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.See more details below

Overview

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 (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.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 (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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Bolstering director Luc Besson's and actor Jean Réno's already substantial American followings, The Professional balances its stylish action with a strong, character-driven story. Réno is León, the quiet, expert killer (a.k.a. "cleaner") who takes 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman in a breakthrough performance) under his wing when her family is slaughtered by a crooked DEA agent (Gary Oldman). The plot involves Mathilda's intense desire to learn the "cleaning" business and exact revenge, but the real story is the developing relationship between the illiterate, socially inept surrogate father in León and the emotionally precocious Mathilda. Changing the familiar Lolita setup so that Mathilda is the aggressor, The Professional becomes a sexless story about a tender, impossible love set against a backdrop of explosions and highly kinetic shoot-outs. Oldman is at his creepiest as the Beethoven-loving villain whose depravity is greatly contrasted by León's emotional innocence. The European cut, recently made available on DVD and titled León: The Professional, includes 24 minutes of deleted footage originally deemed "too explicit" for American audiences. Mostly, however, the restored scenes explore León's past, adding a complexity to his character that is absent from the American release.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
With his breakthrough, La Femme Nikita, director Luc Besson injected operatic, Die Hard-style Hollywood action into a European-style storyline; in his first Hollywood feature, Léon (retitled The Professional for U.S. release), he did the opposite, creating a cross between a placid, neorealist fable and a pyrotechnics-laden action movie. Jean Reno is convincing as the quiet, stealthy New York City hitman who reluctantly takes in a rough-hewn, 12-year-old apprentice killer (Natalie Portman, in her first screen role). Their scenes together are sweeter than they are shocking, and Besson keeps their relationship just within the realm of believability. Many critics found the Portman character exploitative, but the actress' preternaturally confident screen presence prevents her from being used as a victim. The only sore spot is Gary Oldman's histrionic performance as a corrupt DEA agent; Besson lets his scenes run for what seems like an eternity.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
08/15/2000
UPC:
0043396047303
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
R
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:13:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jean Reno Leon
Natalie Portman Mathilda
Gary Oldman Stansfield
Danny Aiello Tony
Peter Appel Malky
Michael Badalucco Mathilda's Father
Ellen Greene Mathilda's Mother
Elizabeth Regen Mathilda's Sister
Carl J. Matusovich Mathilda's Brother
Randolph Scott Actor
Frank Senger Fatman
Jessie Keosian Old Lady
George Martin Receptionist
Abdul Hassan Sharif Mathilda's Taxi Driver
Stuart Rudin Leon's Taxi Driver
Kent Broadhurst Policeman
Tommy Hollis Policeman
Peter Linari Security Man
Betty Miller Orphanage Headmistress
Joseph Malerba Stairway Swat
David W. Butler Important Jogger
Robert La Sardo Client #1
Randy Pearlstein Security Guard
Mario Todisco Tony's Barber
Marc Andréoni SWAT Team
Michel Montanary SWAT Team
Samy Naceri SWAT Team
Jean-Hugues Anglade Actor
Geoffrey Bateman SWAT
Jernard Burks Stansfield's Man

Technical Credits
Luc Besson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Nick Allder Special Effects
Thierry Arbogast Cinematographer
Francoise Benoit-Fresco Set Decoration/Design
Claude Besson Executive Producer
Carolyn Cartwright Set Decoration/Design
Pascal Chaumeil Asst. Director
Nathalie Cheron Casting
Gerard Drolon Art Director
Pierre Excoffier Musical Direction/Supervision
Al Griswold Special Effects
Francois Groult Sound/Sound Designer
Magali Guidasci Costumes/Costume Designer
Gerard Lamps Sound/Sound Designer
Sylvie Landra Editor
Patrice Ledoux Producer
Carol Nast Art Director
Eric Serra Score Composer
Bruno Tarriere Musical Direction/Supervision
Todd Thaler Casting
Dan Weil Production Designer

Read More

Scene Index

Production notes; Interactive ad campaign; Isolated music score; Theatrical trailers; Talent files

Read More

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >