05 August 2011

27 July - "I am already grown up. I just get older."

The Professional (1994)

dir. Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, 1997)

Jean Reno (La Femme Nikita, 1990)
Gary Oldman (Air Force One, 1997)
Natalie Portman (Heat, 1995)
Danny Aiello (2 Days in the Valley, 1996)
Michael Badalucco (Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985)
Robert LaSardo (Waterworld, 1995)
Adam Busch (Sugar & Spice, 2001)
Jernard Burks (The Hangover, 2009)
Peter Linari (Men in Black, 1997)
Maïwenn Le Besco (The Fifth Element, 1997)
Don Creech (The Island, 2005)

What a wonderful movie - this one is tops. I added the "Favority Favorites" tag - because that's for movies that I think are high caliber. First: Gary Oldman as the villain = genius. And he does this thing where he takes drugs or something before he did anything really evil and it was just so totally Oldman. He's tops, my favorite actor, I think.

Natalie Portman is also awesome, she's like ten or so in this movie and you can really tell that even at that point she was a skilled actress. Jean Reno, the star, is also fabulous, but unfortunately his entire career is pretty much the one role. In fact, I usually just refer to him as "that French actor" and people usually understand who I mean.

The Professional is the movie which, for me, at least, defines the older man-younger girl relationship theme. Natalie Portman's character isn't just looking for a father figure - she's clinging the best family she's ever known with the least likely candidate, the hitman who lives down the hall.

For me, the most moving scene in the movie is when Leon goes to see his boss, played by the quintessentially Italian Danny Aiello. At this point we see that Leon isn't exactly the brusque tough guy that we imagined him to be, and certainly not the untouchable tough that other hitmen movies present with their characters. Aiello dominates Leon, he can barely get a word in edgewise. We learn that he is illiterate, let's the Italian manage all of his money. Leon is afraid to ask for what is his. He's meek. The girl gives him something to stand up for. She gives him something to live for. It's phenomenal acting, there's a vulnerability in both the protagonists that is all too rare in this sort of movie. Because it's an action movie and ostensibly there's no room for emotion, but that's wrong. The subtlety of the emotion is what makes it work.

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