The Review/Short Read/

One To Watch: The Professional

Explosive action and sly wit come together in this stylish thriller

May 20, 2016

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WHY TO WATCH: So, you have Natalie Portman’s '90s aesthetic (the bob cut, the crop top, the round shades — how does an 11-year-old have such a well-cultivated sense of fashion?), Gary Oldman as the Realest of all '90s movie villains, and Jean Reno’s anti-macho, milk-guzzling, plant-loving, murder-hating hitman. Sure, Luc Besson’s intentionally Lolita-esque undertones, and the thought of a trigger-happy 11-year-old orphan would simply not fly today. But this suspense-packed thriller has a brand of melodrama that you just won’t find in modern action movies (Plus, Gary Oldman managed to make the words “Mickey Mouse” sound metal as hell). The story itself starts with Leon, the murder-reluctant hitman, living the loner life in a New York apartment (the film was shot in Paris, giving Besson’s version of New York a quiet, rosy elegance). Next door, a corrupt DEA officer named Stansfield (Gary Oldman) is having a bad day and kills a family. The surviving member, Mathilda (Natalie Portman) knocks on Leon’s door for help. The rest of the film is a suspenseful cat-and-mouse chase, with Stansfield scrambling to tie the loose ends of his rampage while Portman portrays an 11-year-old's thirst for vengeance. This movie is iconic, no matter which way you look at it.

This screening of The Professional will be preceded by a 35mm presentation of the latest Radiohead music video (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson), "Daydreaming."