Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Day at the Movies

I took the day off today to play hooky with an old friend. Stores and theatres are just less crowded during the week than they are on weekends. We went shopping and out to eat and to see the new film The Matador.

It's a strange little movie. The tagline is "a hitman and a salesman walk into a bar." Pierce Brosnan plays the hitman, Julian Noble, in a role that both mocks and pays homage to his James Bond role. Greg Kinnear plays the salesman, Danny Wright, and Hope Davis is Kinnear's wife.

Brosnan announced in February, 2005 that he would no longer play Bond in the long-running movie series. The Matador is his first post-Bond role. In its review of the film, Newsday said, "Eventually, you forget Brosnan's ongoing effort to set fire to his trademark creased-and-polished image and begin to share his apparent glee in traipsing through this seriocomic farrago of crime melodrama, buddy movie and sob story."

The hitman and saleman meet in a hotel bar in Mexico City. Noble is an overworked assassin-for-hire who strikes up a conversation with the down-on-his-luck salesman, Wright. The two attend a bullfight the following day where Noble describes himself as a "facilitator of fatalities" to Wright. My favorite line was when Noble says something like, "Hey, just because I'm a sociopath doesn't mean I'm a psychopath." Six months later when Noble has a melt-down, he shows up on Wright's front door, looking for help from the only friend he has.

It was incredibly unnerving to see Pierce Brosnan dressed like euro-trash with a nasty moustache and haircut and a fish-white aging body. As Julian himself says, "I look like a Bangkok hooker on a Sunday morning after the Navy's left town." Brosnan's courage and audacity in taking on the role is worth the price of the ticket alone. The character has an appalling lack of social skills and a penchant for young girls that is as anti-Bond as one could imagine.

The film is quirky, funny, implausible, and we both enjoyed it enormously. It was only playing in one theatre that we could find so I'm not sure how long it will be in release. Catch it if you can.

1 comment:

Sherrill Quinn said...

I love Pierce Brosnan, even if I wasn't too crazy about him as James Bond. (Sean Connery will always be *the* James Bond to me. I remember a critic saying, when Pierce Brosnan was tapped to be James bond: "When Roger Moore took over the role, we all knew it was just the Saint pretending to be James Bond. Now, with Pierce Brosnan, it's just Remington Steele pretending to be James Bond.) :)

Don't get me wrong. I think he played the role reasonably well enough. He just wasn't as much of a bastard as Sean Connery's characterization. LOL