Léon: The Professional ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Lolita with guns.

So much praise can be heaped on this, Luc Besson's (probably) best movie, and it would deserve just about all of it. We care about these people, some of them because they are despicable, some of them because they are childlike.

Jean Reno's Leon isn't a glamorous hitman. He leads a dreary, soul-sucking life where his rote professionalism and talent amounts to no more than taking out the garbage. Natalie (only ten years old at the time) Portman's Mathilda is aged beyond her years, not only by her hard life but in her relationship and interactions with Leon. Gary Oldman's unhinged and corrupt DEA agent is the element of chaos that brings them all together.

With a tense open and gangbuster finale, the middle drags just a bit, but by the time Sting's Shape of my Heart plays out the opening credits, all is forgiven and we a left shaken and transformed.

For the love of God, bypass the American Cut "The Professional" (which is still a great movie) and focus on the European cut. Those 24 extra minutes make a world of difference.