The Matador

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The Matador
Review (8/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

In The Matador, Pierce Brosnan plays Julian Noble, an assassin who's fighting a losing battle. He's aging, and the number of assassinations he's committed is beginning to take its toll. Greg Kinnear plays Danny Wright, a salesman who is also struggling with his career due to his inability to come to grips with the tragic death of his son. So, one day, Danny gets sent to Mexico on a sales trip that he can't afford to screw up. There, in a hotel bar, he meets Julian who is there on his next project. Although at first Julian acts like a drunken fool (but in a funny drunken fool kinda way), he later apologizes and invites Danny to see a bullfighting competition. There, he reveals that he's an assassin and lets Danny in on a few trade secrets. Fascinated, Danny attaches himself to Julian and the two form an unlikely friendship. But, when Julian asks Danny to help with his latest assignment, the strength of their newfound friendship is tested and the lives of these two men are forever changed. Alright, maybe I'm being a little too dramatic, but you get my drift.

I went into The Matador not knowing too much about the story and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a decent story that is both well acted (by Brosnan and Kinnear) and well told. Although it may not appeal to all audiences, the movie is at the same time fun, funny, dramatic and intelligent. I mention intelligent most importantly. Too often these days, movies will appeal the lowest common denominator. They'll go for the cheap laughs and the cheaper thrills. But, The Matador builds both the story and the characters slowly, never revealing too much, and in the end provides a satisfying (if only a little predictable) conclusion. How often can you say that about a movie these days?

If anything here, I'll tip my hat to Pierce Brosnan for successfully carrying this movie. Only 10 years ago, the guy's career was a write-off. Sure, he'd had success on TV in the 80s with Remington Steele, but it appeared he'd never break out of that role. After several appearances in movies that never went anywhere, he finally succumbed to public pressure and took the role of James Bond in GoldenEye. The move payed off, and playing 007 lead to better roles and more success. Today, he is one of the more reliable go-to guys in Hollywood. And although we'll never again see him don the 007 tuxedo, he's had enough success to get the projects he wants to make off the ground. So, it's because of Brosnan that this movie got made and it's because of Brosnan that this movie succeeds.

As I said earlier, The Matador may not be a movie for everyone. Unfortunately, black comedies often aren't. But, if you're the type of person who can appreciate the lost art of storytelling and want to see a post-007 Pierce Brosnan in a stand-out performance, The Matador will not disappoint.

Keyword : Eli, Drama, Aging, You, Ant, Common, Ate, Black, EMI, Ex, Fighting, Forever, Friendship, Here, Holly, Julia, Knowing, May, Move, Next, Numb, Out, Pet, Red, Run, Secret, Sign, Take, The Matador, Trade, Up, Will, GTH, Bi, Now, Ryo

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