15 August 2006

The Matador

What a strange movie.

One has the sense that this could have been a great film. It was quirky, the acting was great, and there were some really choice moments. The humor was off-beat, the dialogue was entirely decent, the story was odd and somewhat compelling... but the movie was boring. It just kind of dragged. Parts that seemed totally irrelevant went on and on, and important bits raced by. The timing was just off. The movie seemed to proceed in the jerky forward motion of a manual transmission car being driven by someone who has only ever comandeered automatics. It leapfrogged forward 6 months, showed brief clips of action in various cities, then spent 20 minutes on one conversation. Very, very weird. There were lots of scenes that just seemed completely random - for instance, Greg Kinnear is leaving for Mexico very early in the morning. Like, 5:30 am. He's quietly eating his cereal, and his wife comes downstairs to say goodbye. They get a bit sappy... and then start having sex (this transition occurs in the space of about a minute)... and then a tree crashes through the roof. The tree is referred to later a few times, but it has no real bearing on the action. It's just a really strange scene, kinda crammed into the movie. It's interesting, and the juxtaposition of the half nude embracing pair with the fallen tree is kind of neat visually, but still, huh?

I think this problem in timing had to do with the makers insisting that the real "message" of the movie is NOT in the story itself, but between the lines. The fact that it's about the friendship between an assassin and an average joe wasn't the point. The real POINT, the movie seemed to want to say, was that the assassin was lonely and led an empty shallow life, and the boring average joe had a wonderful wife. Ok, so really, the point is, love is super. Huh? I mean, ok, but why do you need this crazy outlandish plot about an assassin to say that?

I read one review that praised the movie because Pierce Brosnan was so great as an ultra sleazy character, the very opposite of his suave James Bond. But the thing was, he wasn't properly sleazy. I mean, he was still a sympathetic character, and ultimately, a pretty good guy. In fact, everyone in this movie seemed pretty darn pleasant. Kind of odd. Hope Davis had a really great character - a really wonderful woman.

Finally, one thing that caught my interest, there are two shots in the movie that involve one character looking in a mirror, and two other characters in the background. Kind of curious, not really sure what they're doing there.

Anyhow, a very odd film.

1 comment:

Whit said...

I enjoyed it. At times it seemed predictable and others it led me to believe I knew what was coming, only to show me that I didn't.
BTW, that racetrack was not in Tucson. I don't know where it was, but I know where it wasn't.