“Can’t Stop Marathon” Review #15: The Matador (2005, Shepard)

November 3, 2011 — 5 Comments

We all love Pierce Brosnan. He’s a handsome, charming man. He was a really good James Bond, and starred in one excellent Bond movie. He was the asshole boyfriend in Mrs. Doubtfire. Basically, Pierce Brosnan has earned an unlimited supply of goodwill from myself and most others, which is why I find it odd that when The Matador was released I actually avoided it. What can I say? It’s just looked bad. Now, after watching the film for the first time, I am happy to report that I will never again doubt the promise of a mustachioed Pierce Brosnan.

The Matador tells the story of a high-priced assassin in a stort of midlife existential crisis who intrudes on the life of an amiable business man trying to close a deal in Mexico. There is a little bit more to the story, and a little bit of mystery manufactured through some non-linear structure, but mostly it’s pretty straightforward. Pierce Brosnan is Julian, the assassin, and Greg Kinnear is Danny, the man who becomes his friend.

The pleasure of The Matador comes from two places. The first is the writing. It’s a real cracking script. Wonderful dialogue and a black sense of humour that keeps the film light on its feet, even when it threatens to get bogged down by some more serious subject matter. The second great pleasure comes from watching Brosnan deliver what has got to be his best performance ever. We already know the man has charm to spare, but here he puts all of into a brilliantly funny and wild character. He’s a womanizing drunk assassin with practically no filter. He intrudes on Danny’s life but is so charming as to make that intrusion fluctuate constantly from slightly annoying to totally endearing. And Brosnan nails it all perfectly. He’s a joy to watch on screen.

I wouldn’t say that The Matador is a great film. It’s a little bit too simple, and that non-linear construction is slightly cheap. If you want a great film about assassins you can look to In Bruges. But if it’s not a great film, it’s at least great fun. I enjoyed the heck out of The Matador. I just had a great time with it, and with Brosnan and Kinnear. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a movie in quite a while, in fact. For that reason alone I can easily recommend The Matador to just about anyone.

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5 responses to “Can’t Stop Marathon” Review #15: The Matador (2005, Shepard)

  1. 

    Yeah, I agree that In Bruges goes to an entirely different level with the assassin story, while being terribly entertaining in its own right. But like you I think that The Matador is simply too fun for anyone to not have a good time with (though the voters at imdb tragically seem to disagree).

  2. 

    I also skipped this originally, despite the high praise Brosnan received for the role. And my reason was Greg Kinnear – I enjoyed the movie, but my original Kinnear prejudice proved to be worthy. He’s way too lightweight and cheesy for this film, and I couldn’t believe his character for a second.

    Also, the film could have gone to another level from just mildly entertaining if it had the courage to take a darker turn when Julian encroaches on Danny’s personal life. He’s a womanizer; he’s a ruthless killer; he has a secret on Danny – that really could have generated some great tension…but no.

    • 

      It’s funny, I really like Kinnear. I cannot stand Hope Davis, however. She basically the most annoying actress ever. Luckily she wasn’t in it much.

      And like I said, I’m fully aware it doesn’t achieve real greatness, but I had too much fun with the film overall for me to just dismiss.

  3. 

    Brosnon is awesome in this and is surprisingly having a lot of fun with his character that seems to be making fun of his whole “James Bond” persona. Good review.

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