The ironically named Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) is a hitman whose lifestyle of promiscuous sex, exotic locales and contract killings is catching up with him. As he approaches meltdown, he runs into Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), a businessman who has had a long run of bad luck. The two strike up a friendship in Mexico city, and toward the end of their stay there, something happens. Six months later, Noble, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, turns uup on Wright’s doorstep.
If Bro…nan sent up his James Bond persona with The Tailor of Panama, here he tosses that character into the deep blue sea and tosses a depth charge in after the corpse. His Julian Noble is a foul-mouthed, amoral screw-up who is nonetheless engaging for his awareness of just how pathetic he is becoming. Kinnear, who frequently plays weasels who seem like nice guys, here actually IS a nice guy, providing a solid core of decency that somehow makes a story in which a fair number of people are killed seem sweet. Imagine a somewhat rougher Grosse Pointe Blank
with more finely wrought characterization.
The score sounds smashing, with terrific bass, though the mix is bit heavy in the rear speakers. The environmental effects are very strong and immersive, and the overall level is high. If you have the volume cranked, be prepared for the first explosion – it might blast your neighbours out of bed. The left-right separation is excellent as well, and the dialogue never distorts.
Very fine work here. The image is as sharp as one could possibly hope for (to the point that one can make out the barely discernible loss of definition that director Richard Shepard refers to in the opening shot). The contrasts, flesh tones and blacks are terrific. The colours are natural but extremely vibrant at the same time. Edge enhancement and grain are not problems. All in all a very handsome transfer.
There are two commentary tracks. Richard Shepard does the first on his own, and is thoughtful, articulate, and very good at explaining why everything was done, and not just how. He is joined on the second track by Kinnear and Brosnan, and the result is still informative, if a bit sillier. Shepard does the honours one more time with an optional commentary accompanying the 11 extended and deleted scenes. The making-of featurette is the usual piece of fluff. Better are the two radio interviews with Shepard. The theatrical trailer and TV spot are joined by trailers for other Weinstein Company releases.
This is one of those films whose casting is about as perfect as perfect gets. Sharp writing, too.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Radio Interviews with Director
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spot