Professional [Blu-ray]

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Synopsis

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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Review

Review Text 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. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi

Product Details

Release Date
11/17/09 
Studio
Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating
R -- Restricted
Length
4 hours, 2 minutes
Sound
  • DTS-HD Master Audio
Region
  • Blu-ray region A (North America, Central America, South America, Japan, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia)
  • Blu-ray region B (Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, Greenland, French territories)
  • Blu-ray region C (India, Mainland China, Russia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Central and South Asia)
Subtitles
  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
Video Features
  • "10 year retrospective: Cast and crew look back" featurettes
  • "Jean Reno: The road to Leon" featurette
  • "Natalie Portman: Starting young" featurette
  • Fact track - Exclusive to the extended version
Number of Discs
1

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