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The Matador (2005)

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, more...
Director: Richard Shepard, Richard Shepard
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: The Weinstein Company/Miramax Films/Genius Pr
Genre: Comedies, Black Comedy
Running Time: 97 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
    see additional details...

A chance meeting between two middle-aged men leads one into a life of crime in this offbeat comedy. Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) is an American businessman whose life has been going through a sour patch after he and his wife, Carolyn (Hope Davis), lost their young son. During a business trip to Mexico City, Danny strikes up a conversation in a hotel bar with fellow out-of-towner Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan), and while Julian's loud and brassy manner initially puts Danny off, in time the two become friends, and Julian feels comfortable enough with Danny to tell him what he does for a living. It seems Julian is a hired killer working under the auspices of underworld kingpins Lovell (Dylan Baker) and Mr. Randy (Philip Baker Hall), and Julian tries to persuade Danny to help him with his latest assignment. Danny refuses, but a few months later a distraught Julian appears unannounced on Danny's doorstep. It seems Julian has blown his two most recent assignments due to a variety of psychosomatic illnesses, and now Lovell and Mr. Randy want him dead. Julian has also done something to put Danny in his debt, and the previously non-criminal businessman is forced to help his friend stage a hit, with Julian's presence in his home upsetting the precarious balance of Danny and Carolyn's marriage. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

James Bond in retirement. by speakreflection November 1, 2006 - 8:26 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I went and saw this movie in the theater. It caught me off guard although with Greg Kinnear in it, I should of known it wasn't taking itself too seriously. Pierce Bronsan succumbs to the role of Julian Noble, the perverse, drunken, facilitater and blooms finally out of the James Bond proper. This movie straddles the fine line of showing too much and too little at times but comes full circle. Kinnear provides the straight man relief to Bronsan's off kilter comments. A excellent flick to check out.

This One'll Knock You Off Your Perch by talltale June 18, 2006 - 7:54 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
One of the many happy lessons taught by THE MATADOR: don't write off a writer/director after a few less-than-gratifying films. Richard Shepard has had a career of making some small, nicely-cast movies that almost worked ("Oxygen") or didn't come close ("Mexico City") plus a lot of TV. With this almost shockingly good, bizarre buddy movie, however, he (together with his ace cast) just about wipes the floor with most of 2005's film crop--indie or mainstream. The set-up is as improbable yet believable as you could want, due to the great chemistry between Pierce Brosnan and Gregg Kinnear. (We've long know the latter as a chameleon-like actor, infinitely better than his initial pretty-boy image indicated, but Brosnan--always acceptable and sometimes much more--is a revelation.) Hope Davis, as usual, a movie's major asset, completes the trio with her splendid portrayal of "the perfect wife."

The most interesting thing about "The Matador" is that, yes, it's amoral and disturbing, but because it deals with friendship, death and the possibility of change and growth, it offers much more than your typical black comedy. It's dark, hugely funny, sometimes sad and consistently surprising. That's already better than most of what we see, but in terms of filmmaking technique and talent, the movie reaches ever farther. From first shot--no, first sound--to last shot (beautifully composed and partially seen in a side-view mirror), it's full of the kind of exactitude seldom encountered. The long scene at the bar as the two men start to bond is so rich in everything from need to paranoia that I should think most writers, directors and actors will sit transfixed (and maybe green with envy). Best of all, for those of us who too often think in black-and-white terms, this movie provides a healthy journey into the gray.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.51)
67 Votes
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