Action R Running time: 1:37
IMDB rating: 6.8 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English; Subtitles: English, Spanish; Audio: DD 5.1
Pierce Brosnan gives one of his finest performances in The Matador, a low-key buddy comedy with an agreeably sinister twist. Light-years from his former James Bond image, Brosnan is unshaven, unnerved and unpredictable as freelance assassin Julian Noble, who encounters desperate businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in the bar of a modern Mexico City hotel. Danny is intrigued when Julian reveals that he's a "facilitator of fatalities," and his wife "Bean" (Hope Davis) is equally fascinated when Julian shows up unexpectedly, six months later, at Danny's home in Denver. Having lost his touch as a reliable hit-man, Julian needs Danny's help with "one last job," but the logistics of Julian's lethal profession (involving an employer played by Philip Baker Hall) are secondary to writer-director Richard Shepard's offbeat, slightly uneven character study, which gives Kinnear and Brosnan a memorable opportunity to riff on their established screen personas. In making Julian a likable yet tormented drifter who's made a habit of "running from any emotion," Brosnan creates an edgy yet sympathetic character as mysterious as he is fun to be around; if you're going to befriend a hired killer, you could do far worse than a guy like Julian. As Brosnan plays him, he's worthy of a sequel, but The Matador is the kind of entertainingly quirky movie that's a hard act to follow.