The Matador (2005)
January 9, 2023 10:38 AM - Subscribe

Salesman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) is working through his shaky marriage and the untimely death of his child when he bumps into the similarly dispirited Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) in a Mexican dive bar. After they develop an unusual but meaningful bond, the brash Julian reveals that he is a contract killer, which doesn't bother Danny. Months later, a desperate Julian shows up at Danny's home and asks for a life-changing favor that truly puts their friendship to the test.

Also starring Hope Davis, Portia Dawson, Adam Scott, Israel Tellez, Arlin Miller, Azucena Medina, Jonah Meyerson, Wiveca Bonerais, Roberto Sosa, Luz Maria Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Rachel Schwartz, Carolyn Horwitz, Jorge Robles, Guillermo Ruiz, Dylan Baker.

Written and directed by Richard Shephard (The Perfection).

75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Starz. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Underseen gem.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:40 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]

Oh man I loved everything about this movie. I loved the acting, I loved the story, I loved (LOVED) the music. I mean, The Cramps?!?! And I still watch the last scene (at the grave) on YouTube every now and then.

I especially liked the subverted expectations about what happens in the hotel room, and the way they used flashbacks to heighten the expectations.

posted by Gorgik at 12:05 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]

It's on Starz so I'm off to watch.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:35 PM on January 9

I forgot exactly why as I wasn't a big theater goer at the time, but I managed to catch this in theaters and loved it. Bean and Danny's relationship is really well depicted, the tone really is a high-wire act that I think it nails. So fun.
posted by Carillon at 1:11 PM on January 9

The trailers really don't relay how funny this is.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:34 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]

In some ways this is like a 21st-century version of The In-Laws.

It's a great flick, and I feel like Brosnan is winkingly playing off his then-recent run as James Bond. Like, "oh, you guys think Bond is so suave and cool, I'll give ya a "secret agent" who's an amoral drunken sleazebag."

Also, as I was just reminded of while watching the trailer on IMDB - this is a Christmas movie.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:38 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]

We watched this last night. Rewatch for me, first time for Comrade Doll and kiddo. Big smiles all around.

I think the movie really has some insights to offer on making friends as an adult. Julian and Danny don't bond by becoming more like each other, they bond by recognizing each other as individuals and taking seriously the challenges each has to face. That's all we want sometimes is for somebody to accept us and acknowledge that our struggles are a big deal to us.

I also think the way Julian and Bean bond is very sweet. I do feel sort of emotionally connected by association to the true loves of my best friends. Not romantically. More like gratitude for taking care of my person.

Anyway, it's a great movie. Probably the best I have ever seen Brosnan in anything.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:30 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

I will always love this film for the trampoline shot.
posted by FallibleHuman at 6:53 AM on January 10

Trampoline shot? I just watched it yesterday and I did not notice that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:15 AM on January 10

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