|Directed by||Richard Shepard|
|Produced by||Pierce Brosnan
Ricardo Del Río
Beau St. Clair
|Written by||Richard Shepard|
Philip Baker Hall
|Music by||Rolfe Kent|
|Edited by||Carole Kravetz|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company (North America)
Miramax Films (Global)
|Running time||96 minutes|
An encounter in the bar of the Mexico City branch of the Camino Real Hotels, between tired businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), hoping to land a life-saving contract in Mexico, and jaded, falling-apart-at-the-seams assassin Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan), leads both men into an awkward friendship. Julian is confronting the immorality of his profession and experiencing a mid-life crisis that causes him to freeze on a job; Danny is fearing that a vitally important deal will fall through and cost him his job. After an uncomfortable-at-times conversation, Danny leaves the bar. Julian apologizes and invites him to see a bullfight. During the spectacle, Julian reveals the kind of work he truly does, and when Danny is skeptical, takes Danny through the steps of murdering a portly spectator in the arena bathroom. Danny is shocked at how easily Julian can get within inches of the man, even though Julian ends the "tutorial" without going through with the murder.
Later, while at an outdoor cafe, Julian asks Danny to assist him in "facilitating a fatality;" Danny flatly refuses and Julian leaves. On leaving the idea seems to be that Julian has had enough of Danny and their friendship has just ended. That evening Julian appears at Danny's hotel room, knocking on the door, pleading to be let in; Julian wants to apologize for attempting to involve Danny in his work. Danny sits within looking undecided, and the scene fades to black without revealing what happened next. There is the sound of glass breaking once the screen goes dark.
The film picks up again later, during the Christmas season. Danny and his wife are relaxing at their home when Julian visits Danny at his home at Christmas, looking for a place to stay. Danny and his wife have reservations about the situation, but decide to let him in. The grateful Julian notices that Danny has framed the ticket from the bullfight, an act that affects Julian profoundly. That night, he shares the real reason for his visit: he needs help with one last job. Julian convinces Danny to go along with the plan because Danny "owes" Julian. After much internal struggle and with Danny talking him through it, Julian completes the task at a Tucson horse race track.
On the plane back, Julian reveals that the target was his old boss (the only one he could kill to end the contract on himself and spend the rest of his life in Greece). Danny is surprised, then amused at Julian's craftiness, but is given a wake-up call about Julian's lethal personality when he lightly punches Julian in the shoulder and is warned by Julian, "Don't ever hit me again." Danny remembers his friend is still a killer and immediately apologizes. A split flashback sequence during the flight home (memories triggered by a statement Danny makes), shows what took place a year prior when Danny let Julian into his hotel room: Julian talked Danny out of commissioning a hit on a rival for the deal.
Later, Danny and his wife are shown at the grave of their son, something they do together every year. Julian watches respectfully from a distance, places plane tickets for Greece (his intended place of retirement) on their car windshield, then slips away.
- Pierce Brosnan as Julian Noble
- Greg Kinnear as Danny Wright
- Hope Davis as Carolyn "Bean" Wright
- Philip Baker Hall as Mr. Randy
- Dylan Baker as Lovell
- Adam Scott as Phil Garrison
- Portia Dawson as Genevive
Although Julian travels to Vienna, Las Vegas, Moscow, Sydney, Budapest, Tucson and Manila, the film was shot entirely in Mexico City. According to the credits following the film, all bullfights were created using computer generated bulls. Actress Hope Davis was pregnant during the filming of the movie.
During the commentary for the first deleted scene on the DVD, director Richard Shephard states that the first cut of the film was 2 hours and 10 minutes and was cut down to its current length of 1 hour and 37 minutes.
Having been screened at the Sundance, Toronto, and Chicago International film festivals prior to its release, the film was generally well received by critics. Early professional reviews praised Pierce Brosnan's performance, as well as the film's unique and provocative premise and themes.
Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, on their television show At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, gave it an enthusiastic "two thumbs up," with Ebert praising the movie as "an overlooked gem" and "Pierce Brosnan's best work to date."
It has a favorable 76% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 148 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The critical consensus states that "This humorously amoral, oddball comic thriller features strong performances by Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear as a flamboyant, aging hit-man and an out of work suburban businessman, respectively."
The soundtrack was released in 2006 on Superb Records.
- Track listing
- "A Town Called Malice" - The Jam - 2:54
- "El Matador" - Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - 4:35
- "It's Not Unusual" - Tom Jones - 2:00
- "1, 2, 3, 4" - Titan - 4:13
- "Manila Fiasco" - Rolfe Kent - 2:38
- "Garbageman" - The Cramps - 3:35
- "Heat of the Moment" - Asia - 3:50
- "Bahía Blanca" - Ramón Stagnaro - 3:03
- "A Mi Guitarra" - Daniel Indart - 2:49
- "Matador Theme" - Rolfe Kent - 2:42
- "One Night in Mexico" - Rolfe Kent - 2:39
- "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" - Dave VanNorden - 3:13
- "No Te Rajes" - Mariachi La Estella ' 3:03
- "All These Things That I've Done" - The Killers - 5:02
- "The Matador (2005) - Did You Know?". IMDB.com. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Honeycutt, Kirk. "The Matador." Hollywood Reporter. Jan. 22, 2005
- The Matador at the Internet Movie Database
- The Madator at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Madator at Box Office Mojo
- The Matador Review