Think you know Pierce Brosnan as an actor? Think again. This film reveals him as the anti-James Bond, a creepy assassin who suddenly grows a conscience in his waning years. No more REMINGTON STEELE, no more 007. This guy needs a serious injection of scruples.
When Julian Noble (Brosnan) is assigned to "rub someone out," there's no hope for his target. That is until one day he's contracted to take out a man in Manila and has a nervous breakdown, ending up face-down in a pile of donkey dung.
Then we move on to/flashback to Mexico City, where Julian meets up with Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear, ), a down-on-his-luck businessman who tries to befriend Julian in the hotel bar. But Julian's antisocial behavior gets in the way often and nearly forces Danny away. But they form a sort of twisted friendship and Julian takes Danny into his confidence while watching a bullfight and shows him how to function as a killer. Danny is both terrified and exhilarated.
Then, six months later, Julian shows up at Danny's house in Denver and ask for an impossible favor.
Brosnan deserves an Oscar for his performance as the confused and embattled assassin. I never, ever, ever saw Brosnan but always the character he was portraying. He completely creeped me out, even when some of his humanity returned.
Greg Kinnear was excellent as Brosnan's alter-ego, a Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes guy who needs an infusion of toughness to get his life back on track. The film is strange like that, too. Both men give some of themselves to the other, but in the process lose a portion of what they once were. For Brosnan's character, that was definitely a good thing all the way around, but for Kinnear's, we're not too sure.
The scenes filmed in Mexico were beautifully filmed, too. The shots of the colorful buildings, the huge stadium built for bullfighting, the cheesy bars, etc.
If you want to see a movie that'll tickle that dark funny bone, you couldn't go wrong here. Brosnan is masterful!
Now this is an unusual and quite enjoyable movie, with Pierce Brosnan like you've never seen before and with Greg Kinnear giving a hilarious and touching performance, best for both in a long time. I loved the quirky conversations, the no bs jokes, the bright color schemes, the glow of cardamom yellow, aqua and flame red in the background, flower beds and their drinks. This movie is full of flavor, shades and produces quite a few chuckles, but also has some nice moments that make it an enjoyable experience and gives a sense of satisfaction at the end.
Brosnan plays Julian Noble, an assassin that meets up with Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in a bar in Mexico. Those two are as far from normal life style as possible in an exotic place; one just finished a "job" while the other has a semi successful business deal in the works. Julian finds out that it's his birthday and realizes he has no friends. As a secret killer, a hush hush man, he starts chatting with Danny at a bar and buys him a drink. The whole time the audience is made to wonder if he really wants to be friends or is Danny his next job. They talk and laugh, hit some rough spots, they get angry at each other, they laugh more, its back and forth like a husband and wife after thirty years of marriage. They argue all the time but they can't stay away from each other. They go to see a bull fight, that has a profound impact on their "friendship" when the bull fighter delivers the kill, Julian tells Danny who he is and what he does. He then proceeds to give him a hilarious demonstration of his talents.
I had a blast watching this, with fine performances from all the actors, witty dialog, jokes and offences, and scruffy, unshaven Brosnan, who paraded around in funky clothes and spoke words I never heard him utter. We watched him trot the globe form Budapest to Vienna, Mexico and Us to Danny's home and the trials and tabulations his failing career caused him. Once he's too tired to work, his midlife crisis hits him, he has no friends but Danny to help him out as his own boss it out to terminate the old dog, Julian himself. Half the fun was watching Kinnear and Brosnan collaborate, as they make a fine match, indescribable by words. It's a feast for the eyes and a holiday for my mind and a fun Thursday night movie to watch with someone close to share the laughs and gasps.
- Kasia S.
on January 28, 2006
Julian Noble (a witty, debauched, ironic Pierce Brosnan) is a hit-man for hire and at a crossroads in his life: after years of killing for money, bedding anything within sight and inhaling as much liquor as he can, Julian is having trouble carrying off his assignments. Has he developed a conscience? Is he bored? Does he no longer need the money? It's never really made clear but "The Matador" is one of those films in which the journey is much more fun and important than the destination.
Along the way, Julian hooks up with a nebbish Danny Wright (a perfect Greg Kinnear) and Danny's wife (Hope Davis) both of whom hilariously accept Julian at face value: they are both excited and turned on by Julian's occupation and welcome him into their home for conversation, bourbon and pecan pie.
Director Richard Shepard keeps a tight rein on the proceedings and though much of the action has to be seen to be believed, the film rarely bogs down in its own absurdity.
The revelation of "The Matador" is of course Pierce Brosnan and, with this part, he once and for all sheds any notion in anyone's mind that he can only play James Bond. His Julian is paunchy, grizzled, graying and fun as hell to watch.
Pierce Brosnan has previously played Remmington Steele and James Bond. In this film, he plays a hapless hit man who lost his nerve to kill. This black comedy takes a large poke at the Steele/Bond legends that Brosnan have already done and made famous. Brosnan does this satire with a flair
When he loses his nerve, he chats with a simple man in a bar (Greg Kinnear). Kinnear's character reminds me of Albert Brooks's character from the bad remake of the IN-Laws..that is where the similar ideas ends. He befriends Bronson in his hour of need
Kinnear's wife is played by Hope Davis. This role is most lifelike I have seen Davis act since she did the role of Joyce in the film American Spendor
To give away the end would spoil the fun..just get it and enjoy it yourself
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
on December 28, 2005
I saw this movie last October at the Milwaukee Film Festival with nearly 1,000 people (no joke) and the audience was laughing so hard; I missed parts of the movie. If you want a break from lions, apes, and wizards this is the movie to see.
on June 8, 2006
Pierce is very Clever in the movie. I have never seen him unwind like this in a movie. Just like in 007 he has the ladies running wild. In film he is searching for a friend, since he has become lonely and started to lose his mind. He finds and friend and complety changes his new friends life. You will just have to watch to see how.
His profession in movie is a crazy hitman, Kills corporate guys instead of gangstas. " I guess corp guys are the real gangsters"
on June 14, 2007
When I saw the preview for this movie I just had to see it. I don't know why but it just looked funny and entertaining. Maybe it was seeing Brosnan acting like a complete nut in every scene. The movie is about a bored and lonely assassin Julian Noble (Brosnan) who ends up stalking a traveling salesman named Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear). The thing is that Julian met Danny at a bar in Mexico and likes his personality so now he wants to be friends. Julian has bigger problems though like he can't finish his jobs because he freezes up every time he tries to pull the trigger.
Because of this his boss has put out a hit on him so Julian leaves Mexico and shows up on Danny's front door step. What makes matters worse is not only is Julian having a mid life crisis but he has terrible manners and has a problem drinking too much. Danny has to put up with his craziness while trying to spend time with his wife on christmas. Julian finally tells Danny why he really came to his home and tells him he needs his help to complete with his last job. The two set out on a very exciting and funny journey to rescue Julian from death and send him to a relaxing paradise to retire in.
What I like most about The Matador is the comedy that couldn't have been accomplished without Brosnans hysterical but fitting look. He played Julian on point and really got the comedic depressing feeling of his character. The story has a pretty good twist to it but nothing too surprising. You might even guess the end before it gets there as it bites off some other more serious assassin films. The cast did a good job but for some reason you could feel something missing. One more character equally as crazy as Julian Noble or even crazier maybe could have gave the movie that extra something. It has great picture and sound quality, definitely no problems there. Basically The Matador didn't really have flaws but it was just a 4 star performance. From the story to the comedy it was 4 stars, as funny as it is it isn't 5 star bust out crying laughing. If you have time go get it or maybe it's still on TV but this will most likely be enjoyed.
on April 27, 2016
Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinner are both stellar as unlikely amigos in this tale of a jaded hitman and a goody-two-shoes traveling salesman who form a strange and somehow compelling bond. Brosnan is nothing at all like the suave James Bond type. In this he is crass, untrustworthy and losing his marbles, yet still manages to make down-on-his-luck salesman Danny Wright (and us) care about him. Hope Davis is perfect as "Bean" Wright, the salesman's seemingly meek and mild wife who welcomes the excitement and danger of having a hitman in their lives. This movie has hilarity, suspense, sadness and wonderfully unpredictable twists and turns.
If there ever was any doubt that Pierce Brosnan would have a career, "Post-007", this engaging, dark comedy/drama should put them to rest. Not only is he brilliant, as a seedy, 'past-his-prime' hitman, but he compliments each of his co-stars' performances, giving Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, and Philip Baker Hall equal opportunities to shine, in their scenes together. It is a totally captivating performance from an actor truly in touch with his craft.
The story is simple enough; after 22 years of performing paid assassinations, drinking and fornicating prodigiously, and maintaining a "Who gives a damn?" attitude about life, in general, Julian Noble (Brosnan) starts making mistakes, seeing himself as a child in his targets, and losing his 'edge'. Being the intellectually shallow person he is, he makes excuses, but he is well aware that his own life might be in jeopardy if he can't straighten himself out, on a 'hit' in Mexico...enter Greg Kinnear as a sales rep who desperately needs a successful meeting with clients in Mexico, is still coping with the loss of a child, and with his loving, if grieving wife (Hope Davis), who is also attempting to fill the void in her own life. After a rocky first meeting, Brosnan 'connects', emotionally, with Kinnear, discovering someone who finds his life as dangerous and romantic as he once thought it was, himself; while Kinnear, ever a 'straight-arrow', finds himself seduced by the gregarious, 'larger-than-life' Brosnan, opening his eyes to an exciting, 'taboo' world. The 'healing' each would provide the other (and that Brosnan would provide an equally intrigued Davis), lifts this film far beyond films with a similar concept ("The Whole Nine Yards", for example).
Brosnan is truly a revelation, making a less-than-admirable protagonist into a character you actually care about, and Kinnear and Davis show a rebirth through their relationship with him that is both believable, and very funny, as well. The 'hits', while shown, are presented in a detached manner, focusing more on the mechanics than on the morality (morality is not the issue of this film; Brosnan's 'visions' are not an issue of conscience, in my opinion, but of a spiritual and physical exhaustion). This film is ultimately a story of three 'lost souls' bonding to 'move on' in their lives.
Vastly entertaining, if occasionally crude (Brosnan is far removed from his sophisticated 007 persona), "The Matador" deserves the great reviews it has received, and is certainly worth a spot in your film library!
I love humor based on surreal circumstances. I'm also a Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear fan. This movie had it all for me in one package. I'm certain there has been plenty written about the plot so I'll keep this to my impresions.
The idea of hit-man as victum and loveable character is a great twist. Taking Pierce Brosnan out of his character comfort zone into comedy is brilliant. Greg Kinnear is the great straight-man in a fish-out-of water experience. It boils down to a odd buddy movie which I found strangely heart-warming.
There is enough depth to this movie I've enjoyed watching it 3 times now can catching jewels each time that I'd missed.
This much under-sung movie is a hidden jewel in my opinion and worth a watch to anyone who loves the surreal.