28 January 2006

The Matador (Alliance Atlantis, 2005)

Pierce Brosnan plays Julian Noble: an assassin who interupts his hits with boozing and womanizing. When in Mexico City on a hit, he meets up with Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), a businessman on hard times who is on a business trip that will make or break his future. Eventually, Julian confides in Danny and admits what his line of work it. Straight arrow Danny and hitman Julian part ways before long, leaving Danny with the mother of all anedotes. He goes home. Julian picks up his work but he's lost his edge. An assassin with the jitters is no good and he's in a crisis. Several months later, Julian arrives at Danny's doorstep.
The hitman in crisis is oddly a subgenre and more often plays as comedy than crime: Grosse Point Blank; Man Bites Dog; and the unfortunate Analyze This and Analyze That. Of these examples, this movie is the best of the lot. It's paced as a dark comedy with room for some pathos. Pierce Brosnan plays a bebonair gentleman in many of his roles. In this movie, he lets himself go in splendid style: scrubby looking, frequently drunk, banging women in most cities, angering women by trying to pay for sex in the other cities. He's an acidic and mean spirited wreck and because of his contrast, he really shines.
The Matador is a lean story. Like its title, this movie executes with precision.

tags: movies, Matador, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis

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