The Matador– Quarantine Rewatch

“.. and since then I’ve soiled my way through life being a magnificently cold moron. I run away from anything that remotely resembles an emotion THUS you tell me about your dead son, I tell you a joke about a 15″ schlong.”

Oh yes, the harrowing nightmare of being known. The Matador came out in 2005, and I had to schlep to a rando mall movie theatre in central Connecticut (where I was attending college at the time) to see it. I’m still sort of shocked that it’s not talked about very much– I’ve always thought it was brilliant, sexy fun. Great soundtrack too, solid Cramps needle drop.

(file footage of me on any vacation morning)

In general, Pierce Brosnan is always a fucking delight– I’ve loved the man since the days of Remington Steele, a show my mom was absolutely obsessed with. And he’s a great Bond– but those movies are such a fucking weirdly Americanised mess I wouldn’t know where to begin. He plays Julian Noble with a charm and vulnerability that’s grounded all at once. He’s that effortlessly magnetic guy you meet in a dark bar but you know in the back of your mind that he’s a ticking time bomb waiting to make a mess of things, and yet, you lean in anyway.

The Matador puts a burnt out twist on the Bond archetype. Here’s an ageing hitman who’s exhausted and overworked, confronted with a bunch of bullshit, and is given a chance at rebirth. Much like The Sopranos, this movie isn’t about who’s getting whacked or fight scenes, but a character study.

He is adrift– a man with no home, lost in an ocean of booze and hookers, getting rusty at what makes him useful. Spending his birthday alone, all it takes to help turn that around a touch is just one person to lend a sympathetic ear.

image courtesy of Reddit

Enter Kinnear’s bookish Danny; married to his lovely high school sweetheart and with a bit of a tragic backstory and a sinking business, the man needs a jolt in his life. Meeting at a Mexico City hotel bar, he eventually discovers what Julian does for a living. Strangely, he’s bemused but non-judgemental. He’s a Wife Guy(tm) in the most endearing sense of the term, and Bean (Hope Davis) knows everything and accepts Julian as he is on their doorstep, close to Christmastime. It’s funny how accepting people for who they are seems like common sense on paper, but in real life, goddamn. It’s a killer time to exhale.

They formed a lifelong bond the night that Julian helped steer Danny in the right direction with an obviously failing business deal. Because even at your lowest, you can still have a positive impact on people. You still matter, and I think that’s a fucking fantastic thing to remember. This movie rules and you should give it a whirl.

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