the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Matador

I write film and TV reviews at Here are synopsis' and links to those reviews.

I really wanted to like The Matador. And I guess I did...technically. I was hoping for something that it wasn’t--a sort of Leon: The Professional meets Gross Point Blank. It was more, well, it was its own original. And that’s admirable, come to think of it. If I should level criticism anywhere, perhaps it should be at my expectations. Because while it wasn’t a great film and for one reason or another didn’t fully “work” for me, The Matador was still a hip and hilarious dark comedy.

If you’re planning to watch The Matador with the expectation of seeing Pierce Brosnan in all of his Bondian glory, think again. This is Brosnan exorcizing his Bond demons--and doing it in such a way that he gives one of the best performances of his career.

Brosnan play Julian Noble, a crude and crass freelance assassin who happens to bump into mild-mannered business man Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in a Mexican cantina late one night. Both men are at a crossroad in their lives and careers and while they are the last people anyone would expect to form a friendship (most of all, themselves), it’s amazing what a few margaritas and some honesty can lead to. Down on his luck Danny is intrigued by Julian’s profession and lonely Julian yearns for the stability and love provided by a marriage like Danny and his wife, Bean’s.

They part ways in Mexico, never expecting to see one another again. But several months later, on a snowy evening in Denver, Julian shows up on Danny’s doorstep, on the verge of a nervous breakdown and needing a place to stay. He botched a job, is now being hunted himself, and Danny is the only person who can help set it right.

The Matador is a low-key buddy comedy that functions in writer-director Richard Shepard's offbeat script as a uneven character study. Uneven or not, it allows Kinnear and Brosnan some incredibly funny moments and led to Brosnan being nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as a tormented yet likable killer.

To read the full review, click here.


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