Brosnan has totally immersed himself in the character, not just with his ‘who gives a shit?’ look, but his welcomingly credible and ultimately amusing performance, and coupled with the always-dependable Greg Kinnear – it’s again proof that the Irish charmer will live to Die Another Day.
Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Dylan Baker, Adam Scott
“I was praying you’d remember me…. it’s been a spell”.
Hair that’s deficient of dye, a stomach that hasn’t seen a sit-up in months, a moustache that only Ron Jeremy would be in awe of, a mouth bound for a good soaping…. sounds like an actor trying to make some sort of transformation. Or, in the very least, an actor that’s just had a presentiment that he’s about to get a pink slip from the MI6.
Former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, makes the best decision of his career – since, well, accepting the role of the Martini-downing super spy himself, of course – by accepting the lead role in writer/director Richard Shepard’s “The Matador”. And that’s no Bull. He’s in a totally different time zone than 007, but as the bisexual hitman Julian, Brosnan has never looked more comfortable. Maybe those freefalls took their toll, after all?
Whatever the case, and regardless of how good the rest of the movie is, it’s the perfect defence against the Bond crowd – who apparently unceremoniously dumped the actor – and by the looks of it, the game’s going to be his.
Where the Bond films were anything but, “Matador” is first and foremost, a character piece. Emphasis is on what makes people tick, in contrast to nuclear bombs for a change. And what well-detailed and deliciously fun characters they are.
Julian (Brosnan) is a rather mixed-up chat. He’s a killer-for-hire, but one that’s lost his touch, not to mention most of his confidence. While in Mexico, he bumps into, and consequently befriends, Danny (Greg Kinnear), who with his wife (Hope Davis), is still struggling to give over the loss of their young son. Julian and Danny are polar opposites, but still, in a very non-sexual sense, seem strangely attracted to one another as people.
The film’s first-half examines Julian and Danny’s first meeting, in Mexico, and the latter half – set six months down the track – tells of their reunion, which in turn, becomes rather eventful.
Though the film does seem a little uncertain of itself at times, and slips in and out of divergent lanes, it’s still a very admirable, not to mention very enjoyable picture. It’s commercial enough to appeal to Brosnan’s many fans – possibly even the Bond fans – and there’s enough creativity and uniqueness to appeal to the fussier. Shepard proves himself as a master storyteller here.
But again, emphasis isn’t on the stencil, but the characters within it – in particular, one character. Julian. Brosnan has totally immersed himself in the character, not just with his ‘who gives a shit?’ look, but his welcomingly credible and ultimately amusing performance, and coupled with the always-dependable Greg Kinnear – it’s again proof that the Irish charmer will live to Die Another Day.
Reviewer : Clint Morris