The Professional (1994)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Leon
Director: Luc Besson
Music: Eric Serra
Cast: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello

Leon (Jean Reno) is a master hitman whose life is turned upside down when he saves a young girl named Mathilda (Natalie Portman) from a group of thugs that slay her family. She wants revenge and begs Leon to train her to be an assassin, and he finally gives in. Unfortunately, having a headstrong twelve year old girl around invites trouble and she ends up getting caught by her family's murderer (Gary Oldman). Leon comes to her rescue in a blazing barrage of firepower and bravado and sacrifices everything to save her life. An intense and powerful film, but a bit too dark and depressing for my tastes. Jean Reno and Natalie Portman are spectacular, but Gary Oldman is just a bit too much. Although American audiences criticize the film for pedophiliac themes, I believe that's totally unfounded. Just because an older man and a young girl are living together doesn't imply sexual attraction or immoral behavior. The film handles the tension, awkwardness, and tenderness of their relationship in a completely innocent and non-threatening manner, and it comes off fantastically. Great stuff, but it'll make you cry.