The hitman on the edge of breakdown theme is not a particularly original one, but writer/director Richard Shepherd makes it work in his 2005 picture The Matador. Mainly this is due to the performance of Pierce Brosnan as noticeably unstable assassin Julian Noble.
That’s not to say that you can’t see Brosnan acting (you can), but by gum he puts his heart and soul into it. He certainly went some way to exorcising the ghost of 007 by playing a kind of anti-Bond, which in a way anticipates the PTSD version played by his successor Daniel Craig. He’s very ably supported by Greg Kinnear as his new (and only) friend Danny Wright and his Hope Davis as his wife ‘Bean’ Wright.
Shepherd’s script offers a fair few quotable lines, including:
Julian Noble : The margaritas always taste better in Mexico.
Danny Wright (Kinnear) : They certainly do.
Julian Noble : Margaritas and c*ck.
Julian Noble : I need a break. There’s no retirement home for assassins is there? Archery at four. Riflery at five.
Intelligently written with sparkling and witty repartee, intriguing quirkiness and entertainment value that is endlessly enjoyable, The Matador is a film to catch if you missed it back in 2005.