Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 189 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A go-for-broke thriller about a professional assassin whose work becomes dangerously personal. Calling himself a "cleaner", the mysterious Leon (Reno) is New York's top hitman. When his next-door neighbors are murdered, Leon becomes the unwilling guardian of the family's sole survivor - 12-year-old Mathilda (Portman), but Mathilda doesn't just want protection; she wants revenge. Training her in the deadly tricks of his trade, Leon helps her track the psychotic agent (Oldman) who murdered her family. [Sony] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Ah, monsieur, you can lead a Frenchman to the Big Apple, but you can't make him a New Yorker -- and that's exactly what makes The Professional so fascinating.
  2. 90
    Oldman is the least inhibited actor of his generation, and as this deranged detective, he keeps absolutely nothing in reserve.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    Few action films can claim such complexities without conceding the bang-bang stuff that brings in the big money.
  4. Reviewed by: Christopher Harris
    Takes its viewers on a bouncing high-wire act between intense violence and sugar-sweet tenderness, with some light-hearted comedy along the way.
  5. 63
    Besson has a natural gift for plunging into drama with a charged-up visual style.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    Widescreen lensing favors tight close-ups, and multiple shoot-'em-ups are edited with panache.
  7. Lacks the sexy elan of "La Femme Nikita" and suffers from infinitely worse culture shock. [18 Nov 1994, p.C18]

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 46
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 46
  3. Negative: 2 out of 46
  1. Aug 26, 2010
    This movie is soo amazing! I **** love it.
    It's in the top in my list of favorites movies, and I think that is one of the best movies of all
    I saw it like 64165465643 times haha and it always surprise me
  2. Dec 26, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. first of all it is a Great movie With Great Directing an all, but nobody ever thought about Natalie Portman's Acting it was her first time in front of the cameras but she NAILED It Expand
  3. Riren
    Jan 30, 2007
    This movie is all about the relationship between a mentaly slow hitman and an orphaned little girl. It is not about how many fight scenes they can pack in, or how realistic they can make the deaths, or even about how uncaring the world is. Seldom in the history of film will you find two actors with such chemistry, and nowhere in film will you find two actors who work together so well with such a gap between their ages. They are bizarre, awkward, funny, violent - and ultimately as charming as any romance, without playing a cheap Lolita angle. The innocence this movie portrays, buried in its own hard, confusing world, will crack even the toughest shells. All the guns, hitmen, drugs and cops are gravy on the side. Expand
  4. Mar 26, 2012
    Hats off to Luc Besson for taking such a brave concept and absolutely nailing it. The Professional is one of the best films of the 90's, and trumps all but the best of today's thrillers. There's a really perfect balance between action sequences and slower-paced, dialogue driven scenes. The interaction between the confident Portman and soft-spoken Reno is quite beautiful, and kept me hooked even as the film slowed in pace towards the mid-way point. However, it's Gary Oldman who steals the show as the psychotic DEA agent, which is no small feat given Reno and Portman's solid performances. I don't think there can be any denying his performance was a inspiration for Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker - sometimes humorous, usually clever, and always tinged with a little insanity.
    The Professional truly is a gem - I just hope people can look past the mediocre critic reviews and form their own opinion.
  5. Ben
    Jul 30, 2008
    Gary Oldman's unlimited talent and towering prowess as an actor takes this good movie and makes it great.
  6. May 2, 2011
    Just finished watching this movie a few minutes ago. An unbelievable rollercoaster ride that had me hooked from the very start. The only bad things I can think of are the musical choices and Jean Reno's heavy French accent throughout. Gary Oldman is actually scary as a drug addicted DEA officer (catch the joke?). Some parts were very slow, but it IS meant to be more dramatic than action packed. Expand
  7. Jan 5, 2013
    This movie is highly regarded, but I can not see anything to justify it. There are plenty of better movies that you can waste an hour with, many that are bad but they at least fit their roles. This movie is just a misfit that doesn't easily hold one's attention. There must be something I'm missing, like a popular release or good actors or something, but its just not very appealing. Expand

See all 46 User Reviews