The Matador | Chicago Reader

The Matador

Recently bounced by the Bond franchise, Pierce Brosnan tweaks his old alter ego in this 2005 thriller, playing a burned-out international assassin who crosses paths with a struggling Denver yuppie (Greg Kinnear) down Mexico City way. The engaging first act channels Strangers on a Train, with the dangerously charming Brosnan playing Bruno to Kinnear's square but susceptible Guy. But rather than sticking to Patricia Highsmith country, writer-director Richard Shepard descends to the lower, safer road of schmuck-and-schlub buddy comedies like Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Analyze This. If he'd gone a few notches darker and deeper he might have had a formidable post-cold war thriller. Still, there's much to enjoy in Brosnan's enthusiastic scruffing up of his Bond/Steele image and in Shepard's energetic, if lightweight, direction. R, 96 min.

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