The Matador

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Year: 2005

Writer: Richard Shepard

Director: Richard Shepard

Budget: $10 million (estimated)

Gross: $12 594 698

i love when a movie surprises me, and there are a few ways this can happen.  one is if i was expecting the film to suck and it turns out to be really good and another is if i am expecting it to be good and it is, but not in the way i had expected.  with The Matador it was the latter.

i had heard good things about this film and from the little bits of trailers i had seen i had a sense that it was going to be something i was going to enjoy.  however, it turned out to, not only be better then i had expected, but a different kind of movie altogether.

anyone who has seen the full trailer probably wont be as 'surprised' by this film (trailers give away way too much), but having literally only seen a few seconds of a trailer at one point many many months ago, i had much less to go on (which is how i usually like it).

i don't want to give anything away and ruin anyones first viewing of the movie, but just to say that i had expected The Matador to be a slick, hip, independent hit man comedy with pierce brosnan doing a kind of comedic take on his James Bond and Tailer Of Panama characters.

the movie is, however, much more then just that.  sure it is slick and witty and quirky in a smart independent film way, but the story and brosnan's character are pretty different then i had expected.  he isn't just a slick killing machine, but rather a lonely character with some poor social skills and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

brosnon and kinnear are both very good and carry the film with ease.  the art direction and the camera work are good and add to the voice of the film.  hope davis is also a pleasure and the scene with all three of them hanging out for the night is great as they become more and more enthralled by their guest's stories.

the whole hitman niche has been done to death (pun intended), but it is also ripe with potential to do something original with story and character study.  The Matador is a really fun film that makes a nice part of a hitman movie night along with The Professional and Gross Point Blank - three original and varied takes on the genre.

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