Everybody's a critic: 'The Matador'

Friday, February 24, 2006
A scene from 'The Matador'

Three stars (out of four)

"The Matador" begins by introducing us to polar opposites.

We see assassin Julian (Pierce Brosnan) regaining hung-over consciousness next to a woman and leaving money for her services. Businessman Danny (Greg Kinnear) rises before his 5:45 a.m. alarm and quickly silences it so as not to awaken his sleeping wife.

On Danny's business trip to Mexico City, his path crosses by chance with Julian's, who is also in town on his own murderous business. This may sound like the set-up to a formulaic buddy comedy, but this movie is anything but that.

Danny is swept into Julian's world (and vice versa), but nothing is predictable. Brosnan is thoroughly enjoyable in this notably un-Bond role, with Kinnear equally fun to watch. Writer/director Richard Shepard embraces the film's quirky attitude and invites us to relax and enjoy. Crude language and Julian's lascivious behavior might offend some, but this movie has enough laugh-out-loud moments and surprising twists to make it worth seeing.

-- Bob Clubbs, drama teacher

Four stars (out of four)

One of the more difficult films to make is the "dramedy" (drama and comedy). Most of the time, a movie can manage to either be overtly dramatic or overtly comedic. Very few movies can find that sweet, sweet middle ground.

"The Matador" is the essence of that wonderful medium. In the movie, Pierce Brosnan plays Julian Noble, a traveling hit man whose personal loneliness drives him to befriend a middle-class businessman named Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) in Mexico City. Their friendship gets even more complicated when Julian unexpectedly shows up on Danny's Denver doorstep half a year later.

Pierce Brosnan does a wonderful job of shedding his James Bond image and emerges as a versatile actor. Greg Kinnear did a fine job as the struggling everyman, but, then again, he plays that role in most of his movies. Hope Davis also gave a small but very memorable role as Danny's troubled but loving wife, Bean.

"The Matador" restored my faith in the ability to Hollywood to come up with something new. The recent trend is to simply make blockbuster sequels or movies based off of books. Not often does a truly original movie come out that is really entertaining. "The Matador" fills that role.

-- Tyler Tankersley, student

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