Friday, December 7, 2012

The Matador

Directed by: Richard Shepard
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear
& Hope Davis
Released: 2005
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rating: 4.5/5

I’ll always remember the first time I watched this unusual and highly entertaining comedy, crime, drama. It was the night of December 23rd 2007. I had finished all my Christmas shopping and everything that had to be done was done; I was just waiting for Christmas to arrive. So I decided to relax by renting the DVD of The Matador; back when I was still renting DVDs on a regular basis. Watching the film on that particular night was one of those perfect home cinema experiences. It’s hard to describe but it all just worked so well, I think it was just an ideal film to watch under those circumstances.

So now to the film itself; first we meet Julian Noble played by Pierce Brosnan. A peculiar fellow who is a professional hit man who travels all over the world performing various types of assassinations for high paying anonymous clients. Julian is a lonely guy due his constant travelling and doesn’t have the greatest set of social skills. His two favourite pass times are drinking heavily and having lots of sex. He is also teetering on the edge of having a nervous breakdown which is making his employers very nervous. We see most of this from Julian in Mexico City where his current assignment is.

Next we meet Danny Wright played by Greg Kinnear. A happily married salesman from Denver, Colorado who along with his wife has had an awful run of bad luck since the tragic death of their son in school bus accident. He’s travels with a work colleague to Mexico City to present a sales pitch to a large corporate body that he hopes will finally turn is bad luck around.

As fate would have it  Julian and Danny, two men from very different worlds happen to be staying at the same hotel where they meet one night at the bar downstairs. After some awkwardness on Julian’s part they get to talking and during their stay in Mexico they start to become friends.

I love this film a lot, it’s an incredibly entertaining the story that is very different and well-structured. And the mix of genres work so effectively, the comedy element which is dark and quirky is done well along with the drama. Director Richard Shepard knows exactly what he wants the film to be and it’s one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The two lead characters jell together so well, I found them to be instantly likeable and quite relatable. It’s definitely a character driven film.

The use of colour is another thing I like about the film; in particular the scenes in Mexico which display vivid overtones of yellow and orange which very much enhance the tone, the summer heat and the culture in general. 

My favourite scene and one of my favourite film scenes in general is when Julian shows up unexpectedly at Danny’s house at 11:30 at night. Its starts off a little awkwardly, Julian meets Danny’s wife and they three of them stay up until the early hours of the morning just talking, eating pie and drinking whisky. It’s a very relaxed, pleasant scene and going to back to what I said about the use of colour in this film, it really gives the scene a warm feeling, there’s almost a certain glow about it.    

This movie really changed my perception of Pierce Brosnan as an actor. He’s able to lose that James Bond persona that he is of course very well-known for. He plays a pretty complex guy; almost an anti-Bond but still retains that classic charm about him.  He’s a guy who was once very good at what he did but now he’s becoming just a fuck up. And also he is incredibly funny in the way he delivers his dialogue and just his behaviour in general; he’s the absolute high light of the film without a doubt, it’s his best performances in my opinion. He is just fantastic!

Greg Kinnear who is one of my favourite actors reminds me a lot of a young Jack Lemmon in this movie. In the sense he’s playing an average likeable every man who finds himself in the most unusual set of circumstances. His on screen chemistry with Brosnan’s character is very strong, it’s a definite case of opposites attract. And he just fits his role perfectly; I can’t picture anyone else playing the part besides him. And the beautiful Hope Davis is wonderful as Danny’s loving wife Carolyn ‘Bean’ in the little screen time she has. She looks absolutely radiant on screen and is just a delight to watch. 

The Matador is a fantastic film; one of my all-time favourites. I actually almost consider it a Christmas movie as a portion of it does take place over the holiday season, plus I tend to always watch it this time of the year. I highly recommend it; if you watch it just for Pierce Brosnan’s performance you won’t be disappointed.

Check out my video review which is available in HD on my YouTube channel.

No comments:

Post a Comment