The characters in The Matador are more interesting than the story itself. Pierce Brosnan plays Julian Noble a jaded hit man, or “facilitator of fatalities” who meets Danny, a family man with a struggling business, played by Greg Kinnear, in a hotel bar. They become an odd couple—Julian needs a confidant while Danny needs distraction from his professional and personal losing streak.
The real revelation here is Brosnan’s performance as Julian, the hit man who develops confidence problems. We have seen Brosnan as the slickly comic private eye Remington Steele on television, the sophisticated James Bond and even as the suave jewel thief in The Thomas Crown Affair but until now we have never seen him in Beatle boots and a Speedo traipsing across a hotel lobby. His Julian is a manic creation—amoral, rude and unlike Bond, the character that has defined his career for the last decade, unshaven. With this one performance Brosnan has entered a new phase in his career, effortlessly leaving the urbane Bond behind.