If you’re looking for an entertaining movie featuring a familiar story and a great cast, you’ve just found it. The Matador is an easygoing crime comedy that could be summarized with one sentence: a hitman and a regular guy walk into a bar. You’ll have to admit that this premise does sound interesting. And it plays out exactly how you thought it would. On one side you have this normal human, ground down to stub by everyday life, and on the other a cold-hearted killer. A man who leads a very different life from our Average Joe but with a set of similar problems.
After the explosion of buddy movies in the eighties and nineties, they were nowhere to be found in the new century. So, it was kind of refreshing to watch a movie about a male friendship, albeit an unusual one. Another thing I loved about The Matador was the focus on the daily grind that fucks us all no matter what we do. So, you can be a hitman and still feel that nasty existential dread. To quote the great American poet Glenn Danzig: “And I’m tired of being alive”. Alcohol and drugs may help ease the pain but it will still be there when you wake up.
Moreover, you’ll feel like you’re slowly losing control over life as the inevitable death starts to approach. You can see that The Matador is willing to humanize this genuinely bad character, a hitman. They have balls, I’ll give them that. And when you add this Average Joe to the mix, what you get is a solid crime comedy. So, this is a movie that works on several different levels. And it’s much more subversive and intelligent than I initially thought. Just get to the thirty-minute mark and you’ll see what I mean.
Meet Julian Noble, a ruthless hitman who’s having some personal problems. His lifestyle prevented him from having children, friends, or any stability. On the other side of this spectrum, we find Danny Wright. He’s a salesman with an almost perfect life. He’s got a good job and beautiful wife but he’s also drowning in the dullness of suburban life. And soon these two halves will meet and form a unit. A unit that will be going on an adventure.
Pierce Brosnan gave one hell of a performance in The Matador. He elevated the script to a whole new level and brought Julian to life with flair. His accent and delivery were perfectly suited for this cynical but still highly charming individual. And the script keeps throwing these juicy curveballs almost every ten minutes. For example, after Julian comes to Mexico he sees three high school girls he likes and charms the fuck out of them. Only to make the following comment to his handler moments later: I hate these Catholic countries. All blushy, blushy, and no sucky, fucky.
His actual experience while filming the movie in Mexico was completely the opposite. He fell in love with the country as it’s very similar to Ireland when it comes to the mentality of the people. I think that Pierce is one of the most underrated actors in the world right now. Do check him out in The Tailor of Panama if you’re looking for movies similar to this one. Greg Kinnear was also good along with Hope Davis.
Director: Richard Shepard
Writer: Richard Shepard
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Adam Scott, Portia Dawson, Philip Baker Hall
Fun Facts: Pierce Brosnan fell in love with this movie saying it’s a thing : “that makes you get out of bed in the morning wanting to push yourself as far and fast as you can, and at night, you go to sleep dreaming of the character and what the next day will bring.”