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The Matador
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Matador More at IMDbPro »

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152 out of 184 people found the following review useful:

"Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan," is not all you think...Matador is KILLER Comedy!!

Author: Jerome Freeman.com (jerome@jeromefreeman.com) from United States
7 November 2005

A Note: I think it's best if go to the theater thinking, "Pierce Brosnan = James Bond." This is what I was expecting. Normally, I will have seen the trailer before going to a film. In this instance, I saw an advance screening as a part of the Austin Film Festival and had only seen a promotional photo of Brosnan walking away from an exploding car. This reinforced the stereotype I had for Brosnan. I think the distributor of this film would have been wise to promote it in this manner, feeding people's stereotypes by using this James Bond-esquire image, for I think the effectiveness of the comedy may in large measure be a reaction to what a drastic departure it is for Brosnan. And this was, no doubt, his intention.

Plot Summary: The story is about hit man Julian Noble. Noble, on assignment in Mexico City, has somewhat of a meltdown when he realizes his nomadic existence has left him with no one -- no friends or family, not even a place to call home. Desperate for companionship, he starts up conversation with Danny Wright, 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. And the comedy begins as Julian decides to open up to his new friend more about what he does for a living. All is well until Julian realizes 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.

Analysis: Brosnan took a substantial risk in signing on to this picture. Paying him less than he would normally receive, and requiring that he sport a creepy 'stache, a pot belly and trade in his custom- tailored Armani suits for tight-fitting-euro-pimp threads, you would think he would be out of his element. It turns out to be quite the contrary. Brosnan proves that he is more than James Bond or Thomas Crowne. He proves that he can be one of the most entertaining comedic actors working right now as well. The dynamic between Kinnear and Brosnan is delectable. Kinnear plays such a likable straight man cum everyman, and Brosnan plays such a likable hit man, and the combination of the two is irresistible. Their rapport with each other is so ripe for comedy that you want it in every scene.

While the film uses many conventional cinematic devices, I couldn't help but feel as if I was watching something very fresh and original. Largely, I can attribute this to the performance of Brosnan, but it was also interesting that the film maintained the feel of a fast passed action movie, in keeping with Brosnan's most notable genre.

I highly recommend this film.

JeromeFreeman.com

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122 out of 153 people found the following review useful:

Blushy, Blushy ...

8/10
Author: David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) from Dallas, Texas
7 January 2006

Greetings again from the darkness. Much anticipated, twisted comedy from writer/director Richard Shepard is a coming out party for Pierce Brosnan the actor. That Bond guy is gone. This new guy is something else entirely!! Have read that Shepard thought Brosnan was too much the pretty boy for this plum role, but Brosnan proves to be the perfect Julian Noble, "Facilitator" ... and is anything but pretty! Do not underestimate how twisted the humor is in this one. If you go, expect punch lines and sight gags regarding all types of sex, killing, religion, sports, business and anything else you might deem politically incorrect. Brosnan takes an excellent script to another level with his marvelous facial gestures and physical movements. Even sitting on a hotel bed (with or without a sombrero) is a joy to behold.

Greg Kinnear is the straight guy to Brosnan's comic and has plenty of depth and comic timing to make this partnership click. Hope Davis has a small, but subtly effective supporting role as Kinnear's wife (what's with her name "Bean"?) who happens to get a little excited when she has a facilitator in her living room.

The visuals and settings are perfect - including a bullfight, racetrack and Denver suburb. And how often do we get The Killers and Xavier Cugat on the same soundtrack? This one is definitely not for everyone, but if your sense of humor is a bit off center and you enjoy risky film-making, it could be for you.

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132 out of 173 people found the following review useful:

Humorous and multi-location story with a hit-man at the core.

7/10
Author: Susie Flann from Park City, Utah
22 January 2005

The delivery of some very humorous rude lines by Pierce Brosnan is alone worth the price of admission. He plays a kind of "James Bond's psycho twin brother", separated at birth, no doubt. As an intense hit-man, his character is very sexual but even better, very funny. Add the kind-hearted, uber-likable American "guy next door', Greg Kinnear, to set up contrast. The myriad locations, vivid colors, and quick-witted humor provide great entertainment. Hope Davis is well cast as the "gem of a wife". But the focus of the film is on the two fellows, a new "Odd Couple", and that's the part that works very well. Have a great (probably R-rated) laugh, and look for the places where the story goes a little deeper.

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125 out of 172 people found the following review useful:

Really worthy film

9/10
Author: BARBARA_FIXX from Los Angeles
10 December 2005

This film is fantastic. Finally well-written characters you can love for all their good and bad. Pierce Brosnan is flat-out hysterical in this self-effacing role. I think its the best thing he's ever done. He's done other roles that exhibited shades of being capable of this kind of fully-fledged work, but this role finally gave him the room to run with it. I almost died when he walked across the hotel lobby in his underwear and boots. And Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis are a couple to aspire too, as well as actors to aspire too. Kinnear is so goofy likable that his turn in the end is truly gratifying. You give good actors good work to play with and they give us something more back.

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80 out of 107 people found the following review useful:

Corporate Gigs Got You Down?

9/10
Author: TC Candler from Minneapolis, USA
24 January 2006

"Margaritas and Cock..."

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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74 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

All sass and no blood; movie shows Pierce Brosnan's comedic flair

9/10
Author: btyson-1 from United States
16 November 2005

"The Matador" stars Pierce Brosnan as a burned out assassin. He's James Bond gone to seed, in too-tight, garish clothes, gold chains, and an ugly haircut. Our struggling assassin, Julian Noble, is in Mexico, trying to regain his nerve. Staying at the same hotel is a likable, down-on-his luck businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), also trying to regain his equilibrium. Danny is desperate to close a deal and return to his wife in Denver (Hope Davis) with good news.

Noble and Wright unexpectedly become friends. Wright convinces Noble to reveal certain techniques, which he demonstrates at a bullfight. Noble is eventually targeted by his employers and shows up in Denver.

Writer and director Richard Shepard did the Q&A after this delightful movie at the Austin Film Festival. Shepard was also down on his luck. After suffering the loss of his agent and rejection of recent scripts, he decided to write a story no one would buy and create a character no one would want to play. Then Pierce Brosnan called. Brosnan regains his equilibrium in this movie. (There is life after Bond!) He has a wonderful flair for self-deprecating comedy. Don't miss it.

Stay for the closing credits to read what the filmmakers say about bullfighting. I look forward to more of Richard Shepard's projects.

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62 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

The sweetest hit-man-buddy movie I've ever seen.

7/10
Author: IAN-Cinemaniac from Belgium
16 November 2005

THE MATADOR is hit-man movie lite....if you can say that about a hit-man movie. The violence is never really shown but often introduced. At first I was scared I was in for another retread of mid-90s gangster-hit-man-hipster-dark comedy BUT was happily surprised when I realized this is just a sweet and humorous story about friendship. Nothing terribly exciting happens in this film but every bit of it is kept me grinning. The three leads have the best chemistry the big screen has offered in recent years and it looks like they had a great time making this film together. The writing is sharp though at times it felt as if the script had been adapted from a stage play because of the one set dialog scenes. This is a good film that I probably won't remember for too long but at the time it was a complete joy. Good film.

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24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining crime comedy with Pierce Brosnan in a very successful comic turn

Author: Camera Obscura from The Dutch Mountains
15 November 2006

Pierce Brosnan has sipped his last Martini and returns, in an outrageous self-parody, as the aging foul-mouthed boozy assassin Julian Noble, who has a particular fondness for teenage girls, bullfights and tacky clothes. During a job in Mexico City he meets Danny (Greg Kinnear), a straight-faced Denver suburban business-man, who's in town to make his deal of-a-life-time, in a hotel bar. Despite their completely different personalities and Julian's crude and insensible remarks, they become friends.

Largely carried by the performances of Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, director Richard Shepard revealed that he didn't write the film with Pierce Brosnan in mind , but I can hardly imagine this without him. He proves to have a real talent for comedy and can be more than just James Bond or cold-war spies. The scene in which the two meet at a glossy hotel bar (stunning sets and beautifully photographed) really is a bravura piece of acting skills. The scene lasts almost fifteen minutes, and although it was probably carefully scripted, the two actors are largely improvising, but they succeed wonderfully! It almost feels like a new standard in screen acting. Think of Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in MEAN STEETS improvising and add one of the most subtle underpinnings of many genre clichés and the actors' own typecasting (Brosnan's James Bond in particular), and you got one of the most delightful pairings in recent Hollywood.

Sadly, the story wears thin after a while. After an hour, the film just runs out of steam. Nevertheless, and I can't put my finger on it exactly, I did enjoy this very much. It just feels very fresh and original, with some imaginative use of sets and lighting, and some hints to Seijun Suzuki and Jean-Pierre Melville. The other characters aren't given much to do, but this film does offer something new, in that respect it almost effortlessly succeeds in blending all conventional genres into quite an entertaining spoof. Very amusing.

Camera Obscura --- 7/10

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34 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Stunning performance by Brosnan sadly wrapped in a mediocre film

6/10
Author: Flagrant-Baronessa from Sweden
9 August 2006

A hit-man who is The Dude and Bad Santa both at once.

Pierce Brosnan is at his best and most hilarious in Richard Sherpherd's The Matador (2005), as a booze-drenched over the hill hit-man who loves bullfights, tacky clothes and teenage girls. It is his unapologetic lust for the latter that provide some great laughs in the film.. There is nothing funnier than hearing a sleazy, broken-down version of James Bond exclaim after ogling some Catholic schoolgirls, "God I hate these Catholic countries; it's all blushy blushy, no suckie fuckie."

So Brosnan has a terrifically dirty mouth in The Matador and this is juxtaposed with Greg Kinnear's goody-goody family man character in their newfound, unlikely friendship. Both these characters elicit real sympathy, but especially Brosnan who should be a very unlikable character, a man desperate for a meaningful relationship in his life but just can't stop himself from saying the wrong things. We follow these two very different men as they learn from each other and start changing their lives, projecting equal doses of heart and humour.

The Matador effective in the sense that it mixes absurdity and quirkiness just right and glazes it with a dark comedy coating feel. It is also quite funny thanks to its Brosnan performance, but it does not have much in the way of a plot and no other characters or detours are even worth mentioning - so it is sadly very forgettable. Still, if you are even a slight fan of Brosnan's I urge you to see this film which is easily his greatest performance, and it's a crime he wasn't showered with awards for it.

6.5/10

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A funny movie with personality and dry humor.

8/10
Author: psagray from Spain
4 August 2012

"Julian Noble" (Pierce Brosnan) is a murderer who is experiencing a profound existential crisis. While in Mexico DF to fulfill a request meets "Danny Wright" (Greg Kinnear), who is there to solve a business. "Danny" lives in Denver with his wife "Bean" and, although they have some economic problems, seem happy after ten years of marriage. L "Danny" is proposed to achieve a major contract: if he can accept your project will solve all your financial problems, if, however, reject it will be condemned to live in a very precarious situation. "Julian" and "Danny" fall soon realized that, despite having nothing in common, they need each other.

The relationship that develops between two important businessmen, each in its field, far from their place of origin, is the real value of this film. One of them declined, with regrets that devour him, turned to alcohol and aware of his tremendous loneliness. And the other character also disenchanted with life, immersed in a solitude voluntary death of his infant son, and full of fears for the job failure. The two coincide at a bar. and the two will at the same time needed to complete the lack of a good friend to her. Then make contact, contact, awkward, but a contact that is superbly led, beautifully narrated, like a romantic episode, with some nice sequences, and other moments of tension and suspicion are also spot on. The two men show their desire to be known, have realized that without a friend to talk nonsense and fun, and get it despite being so different. Whoever sees this film with a good heart will find a nice movie, nice and real. Then they separated, because life goes, but friendship has already germinated and there it is.

We know many professional murderers, from Walter Matthau or Edward Fox (The Jackal 1973), all characters in absolute seriousness, an unquestionable professionalism, rigor and a full warranty on their work, they all opposed to "Julian Noble" . "The Matador" is a very funny film, has personality and manages to catch the viewer with his dry humor and their original quarters, it is highly recommended.

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