film review - THE MATADOR.jpg

film review – THE MATADOR

The name’s Noble, Julian Noble

IN A twist on his James Bond persona, Pierce Brosnan plays Julian Noble, a skilled assassin who’s getting on in years. He’s a grizzled, misogynistic, self-loathing hitman (who prefers to call himself a facilitator), marinated in Tequila, who hops from city to city, killing clients and sleeping with prostitutes. With his ugly haircut, stubbly beard, cheesy moustache and too-flashy gold chains, he is nothing like the suave James Bond he has left behind. He is no man of honour.

After executing a hit in Mexico, Julian celebrates by getting drunk at his hotel bar, where he meets businessman Danny (Kinnear), which leads to the start of a rather unusual friendship.

Danny shares with Julian the story of the death of his infant son, but all Julian can do is counter it with a dirty joke. Danny is insulted and walks out. But the next day they begin again after Danny demands, and receives, an apology. When Julian offers to take him to a bullfight, he’s intrigued and it’s there that he learns what Julian does for a living. Danny is fascinated by Julian’s line of work. He’s in negotiations for a big business deal and would be sure to close it, if his rival were eliminated.

Months pass. Back in Denver, we meet Carolyn (Davis), Danny’s wife. She is known as Bean and is very much in love with her husband. One day, the doorbell rings and it is Julian. Lately, he’s been having trouble pulling the trigger, which isn’t making his boss, Mr Randy (Hall), very happy. In fact, his employer has lost his patience, and Julian’s life may be in danger. In an ironic twist, Danny, who disapproves of Julian’s occupation, must help him carry out one last assignment so he can free himself and retire.

Greg Kinnear does a terrific job playing the straight man and Hope Davis is priceless, but this movie belongs to Pierce Brosnan. It’s almost as if he asked for a role as far removed from the debonair James Bond as possible. He gives the best performance of his career and is intriguing to watch.

Rating: * * * *