The Matador (2005)
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|Movie Review by Tony |
April 4th, 2006
"The Matador" with Pierce Brosnan is one of those films where you hear the plot premise and you expect to know exactly how it's going to go from start to finish. It ends up surprising you in the end and being something quite different then expected. I'm not sure how I would classify it. I would say part drama, part thriller, and part buddy comedy. It Features Brosnan in one of his best performances in his career that gained him a Golden Globe nomination.
We have some tricky material here in this film. Trying to mix murder, death, and killings into humor. But Brosnan is so bizarre, charming, and witty, you can't help but fall in love with this likable goof. He plays the exact opposite of his James Bond roles. He is Julian Noble, who goes from town to town and city to city killing people and doing as he is told. He's a hit man. He drinks and has sex often and appears to be fine doing that. Until he realizes, despite all that, he has no real friends, or companionship. He's mostly just a traveling man with no connections.
His world gets turned upside down when he meets Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), who is the exact opposite of him. Has a job, wife, and appears to be living on the straight and narrow. They have a chance encounter at the bar and strike up a conversation and don't really hit off right away, but Julian is desperate for some friend or human contact. They attend a bull fight and Danny discovers what Julian does for a living.
The two start an interesting friendship despite being total opposites. But both men have what the other wants. Danny has the loving wife (Hope Davis) and a normal and real life. Julian has confidence and takes chances. Near the middle of the film, they both start to change and transform into each other and get the qualities they want. Danny even gets a mustache similar to Julian's. Danny even has some sympathy for Julian who is trying to figure out his life, post hit man. He wants to have a wife, kids, and have emotions and feelings. He does not want to be shut off emotionally.
The film relies on some sweet and tender moments instead of relying on the killings and violence. We really get to know Julian and spend some time with him. He's not just a face killing off people. He has thoughts, feelings, regret, happiness, and is human. The film is very original and different and also very, very funny. Great solid performances by Davis, Brosnan, and Kinnear.
Despite all the positive remarks, the film does tend to move a little slow at times. But it's only building up for a grand finale that you won't be able to predict or see. It keeps you on your toes. This is more then a standard buddy comedy flick, it's sweet, breezy, and fun. Brosnan has a second career going for him, if he so desires, outside of James Bond.
This is a tale of friendship and how two people despite being polar opposites can co-exist and get along.
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