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A chance encounter between a travelling salesman and a lonely hitman triggers a strangely profound relationship which provokes each to act in ways neither would have imagined possible. Fate steps in to form a friendship between two men from irreconcilable worlds that will alter the lives of both forever. Written by
The movie was acquired by the Weinstein Company during the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005. See more »
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This tremendously entertaining film grabs you from the opening scene and never stops delivering laughs, surprises and unexpectedly touching moments. I had more fun watching "The Matador" than almost any other film from 2005. It is a wacky film with an unforgettable character, played to perfection by Pierce Brosnan.
Julian Noble (Brosnan) is a facilitator (hit-man) who specializes in high-end corporate gigs (assassinating rich dudes). He is also experiencing something akin to a mid-life crisis. After coming to realization that he has no real friends, no permanent home and no planned future, he stumbles into a Mexican hotel bar one night and runs into Danny Wright (Kinnear).
Danny is a down-on-his-luck family man who is on the verge of losing the big business deal that just might turn things around for him. He loves his wife dearly, especially so since they lost their young son a few years earlier.
The two men are chalk and cheese, hardly any common ground other than that they are in the same desolate bar one night. And somehow a conversation is struck that sets in to motion a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
The friendship they form reminded me a lot of Laurel and Hardy. One is the straight man and the other is the persistent fool who gets them into trouble. The interplay is superbly timed and finely tuned, due in no small part to the wonderful performances from Brosnan and Kinnear.
But make no mistake... This is Brosnan's film. He imprints one of the most memorable and despicably likable characters of the decade. He could shoot your mother and apologize immediately thereafter and you'd probably forgive him. Brosnan may be cinema's ultimate charmer, but this is his most endearing and complete performance to date. I wouldn't be averse to seeing an Oscar nod for this role.
Consider one scene where he overtly ogles a high-school girl with the impurest of thoughts and utters the line, "All blushy blushy... No sucky fucky". He does it with the familiar Bond smirk and manages to get away with it. He manages to tell a young boy, "Tell your mother to lose 30lbs and 20 years. Then get back to me" without coming across as unlikable. In fact, it makes us like him even more.
And yet the film manages to surprise us with some truly touching scenes, most of which come toward the end when the film takes some unpredictable turns. However, when Julian thumbs through his little black book to find someone to call on his birthday, or when Danny and his wife (Davis) console each other in their bedroom one night, the film reaches an unexpected depth of emotion.
"The Matador" is stylish and energetic. It is constantly entertaining. And it contains a career-defining role for Brosnan as the lonely hit-man looking for normalcy, friendship and a means to do at least one good thing in his life. This is an overlooked gem in 2005 and you should make an effort to see this film as soon as possible.
TC Candler of IndependentCritics.com
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