Pierce Brosnan gives one of his finest performances in The Matador
, a low-key buddy comedy with an agreeably sinister twist. Light-years from his former James Bond image, Brosnan is unshaven, unnerved and unpredictable as freelance assassin Julian Noble, who encounters desperate businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in the bar of a modern Mexico City hotel. Danny is intrigued when Julian reveals that he's a "facilitator of fatalities," and his wife "Bean" (Hope Davis) is equally fascinated when Julian shows up unexpectedly, six months later, at Danny's home in Denver. Having lost his touch as a reliable hit-man, Julian needs Danny's help with "one last job," but the logistics of Julian's lethal profession (involving an employer played by Philip Baker Hall) are secondary to writer-director Richard Shepard's offbeat, slightly uneven character study, which gives Kinnear and Brosnan a memorable opportunity to riff on their established screen personas. In making Julian a likable yet tormented drifter who's made a habit of "running from any emotion," Brosnan creates an edgy yet sympathetic character as mysterious as he is fun to be around; if you're going to befriend a hired killer, you could do far worse than a guy like Julian. As Brosnan plays him, he's worthy of a sequel, but The Matador
is the kind of entertainingly quirky movie that's a hard act to follow. --Jeff Shannon
Comedy starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear. The story is about hit man Julian Noble (Brosnan). Noble, on assignment in Mexico City, has somewhat of a meltdown when he realises his nomadic existence has left him with no friends or family and not even a place to call home. Desperate for companionship, he starts up conversation with Danny Wright (Kinnear), a normal guy, with a normal life, in town on business. Unaccustomed to normal social etiquette he scares Wright off, but pleads for forgiveness the next day and requests that he accompany him to a bull fight. Julian decides to open up to his new friend more about what he does for a living. All is well until Julian realises his 'meltdown' is serious and he is having difficulty following through on his 'assignments'. He therefore has to ask for help from his new friend Danny.