Léon: The Professional

Léon: The Professional

Léon: The Professional

Jean Reno leads Luc Besson’s 1994 crime thriller as the coolest of cool professional assassins who rescues a young girl (Natalie Portman) made an orphan by a police raid that claimed her family’s lives. Co-stars Gary Oldman. The film went on to catapult Besson to the Hollywood blockbuster scene, attributing his craft to the director’s chair (1997’s The Fifth Element) and the writer’s room (2008’s Taken).

Mathilda (Portman) want revenge – not for her drug-dealing father who brought on the fatal raid, but for her little brother who got placed in the crossfire. Leon (Reno) is neither a father-figure nor a friendly one, but eventually breaks down to Mathilda’s request to even the score. Meanwhile, the corrupt officer who murdered her family is looking to finish the job…

1994Rating: MA15+, Strong violence and themes133 minsFrance
DramaThriller
Director:
Luc Besson ('The Fifth Element', 'Taken', 'Nikita', 'Lucy')
Writer:
Luc Besson
Cast:
Jean RenoNatalie PortmanGary OldmanDanny AielloPeter Appel

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Léon: The Professional / Reviews

Variety

Variety

Widescreen lensing favors tight close-ups, and multiple shoot-'em-ups are edited with panache.

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Total Film

Total Film

Having one career highlight performance in a film is a treat. Having three is just spoiling us, and the film is so solidly sold by the actors that it mostly manages to sidestep the potential queasiness in the Léon/Mathilda relationship.

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The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Oldman is the least inhibited actor of his generation, and as this deranged detective, he keeps absolutely nothing in reserve.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

Is much too sentimental to sound shockingly amoral in the least. Even in a finale of extravagant violence, it manages to be maudlin.

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Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Always at the back of my mind was the troubled thought that there was something wrong about placing a 12-year-old character in the middle of this action.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

Oozing style, wit and confidence from every sprocket, and offering a dizzyingly, fresh perspective on the Big Apple that only Besson could bring, this is, in a word, wonderful.

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