The Matador * * 1/2

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Director: Richard Shepard.
Screenplay: Richard Shepard.
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Dylan Baker, Adam Scott.

I’m not quite sure why I even watched this film as I’m adverse to torturing myself, watching Pierce Brosnan. However, his role is very different from anything he’s done before so thought I’d give it a go.

Julian Noble (Brosnan) is a freelance hitman who is past his best and going through a mid-life crisis. Needless to say, this is starting to affect his duties and making his powerful and dangerous employers very nervous. He can still bump someone off with great skill but realises he wants more from life. When he meets travelling salesman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), an ordinary guy striving to make a living, a friendship grows between them. A friendship, that Julian has never had before but also doesn’t really know what to do with, considering there has been a lack of human contact throughout his life.

This is a film that relies on the opposites of it’s characters and for the most part it works. Brosnan falters on the odd occasion though and fails to deliver some very witty dialogue with the right tone, but on the whole, he puts in an enjoyable performance, from what is probably the finest role he’s ever had. The scene where he strolls through the hotel lobby in his winklepicker boots and speedos is priceless and shows the commitment he has for shuffling off the role of ‘007’. This particular scene is a standout and there are a few like it but overall it’s slightly uneven in tone, shifting from humour to pathos, not entirely convincingly and can’t quite decide what it wants to be.

Thanks to the two leads though, it’s kept ticking over nicely enough to keep you entertained.

Mark Walker

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