The Matador

Strong chemistry between the often-underrated Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear helps turn what might have been an inconsequential genre exercise into a breezy, unexpectedly sweet odd-couple comedy. Still haunted by the death of his young son and plagued by a stretch of rotten luck that just sent a tree crashing through the roof of the Denver house he shares...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

Strong chemistry between the often-underrated Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear helps turn what might have been an inconsequential genre exercise into a breezy, unexpectedly sweet odd-couple comedy. Still haunted by the death of his young son and plagued by a stretch of rotten luck that just sent a tree crashing through the roof of the Denver house he shares with his wife, Bean (Hope Davis), businessman Danny Wright (Kinnear) heads down to Mexico City in hopes of sealing that one big deal he needs to resuscitate both his foundering career and his marriage. Late one night in the hotel bar, Danny meets Julian Noble (Brosnan), a slick and sleazy stranger who's also in town on business, only he doesn't say what kind of business he's actually in. After callously dismissing Danny's story about his dead son, Julian offers to make it up to him by taking Danny to watch a world-famous matador do his stuff in the ring, and as he lectures Danny on the beauty of the clean kill, Julian fesses up to what it is he does for a living: Julian is a "facilitator of fatalities," a hit man who helps close deals for corporate clients by literally killing off complications. When Danny refuses to believe him, Julian picks a stranger out of the crowd and shows Danny exactly how he'd go about assassinating him, taking Danny right up to the terrifying moment when Julian corners his hypothetical quarry in the men's room. What Julian doesn't tell Danny is just how far out of favor he's fallen with his bosses: Julian's also been on a losing streak ever since he botched a job in the Philippines. Six months after their meeting in Mexico City, Julian and Danny are reunited in Denver when Julian shows up unannounced on Christmas Eve. It seems his bad luck followed him all the way to Budapest, where he once again "failed to deliver the portfolio," and he now needs a place to hide. As he did in THE TAILOR OF PANAMA (2001), Brosnan once again wittily plays off his fame as an international man of mystery gone to seed, and while the film's odd momentum doesn't really add up to much, this is arguably the best performance of Brosnan's career. Combining the steely menace of an eccentric contract killer with a taste for underage girls with the sadness of a man who knows his prime has come and gone, he's unexpectedly poignant. Clad in dull khakis and a polo shirt, the always reliable Kinnear is his perfect foil, while Davis' neat turn as a suburban wife with a penchant for guns and the men who use them turns what might have been a cliched supporting role into something worth watching. The soundtrack features music by Asia, Xavier Cugat and the Cramps.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Strong chemistry between the often-underrated Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear helps turn what might have been an inconsequential genre exercise into a breezy, unexpectedly sweet odd-couple comedy. Still haunted by the death of his young son and plagued by… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »