Total Recall: Thank Goodness For Hit Men

This Thanksgiving Day, take a moment to think about all those underappreciated assassins, just like the pilgrims used to.

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Pierce Brosnan had only recently left his role as the unflappable 007 when he starred as Julian, the gun-shy assassin in 2005's The Matador (75 percent). Beleaguered and struggling with a quasi-existential crisis, one can't help thinking that Julian's professional impotence owes something to his tenure at the MI6. But this high-level assassin looks more like a traveling salesman than an International Man of Mystery: working from a suitcase, keeping no ties, and finding his happiness in either bottles or brothels. When he meets unlucky nice guy Danny (Greg Kinnear), Julian is confronted with all the experiences he might have had if he only treated life as something that couldn't be traded for a briefcase full of bills.

Sure it could have gone tacky and cliché -- hit man finds his conscience -- but instead Brosnan's psychology is as illusive as a hitman after a mark. Meanwhile, Kinear's Danny practices his own brand of character assassination by spreading the word of his encounter with Julian to all his cocktail hour consorts. Unmoored in the seas of international intrigue and middle management, Julian and Danny alternate between clinging to each other and fleeing from each other. While a tad befuddling, The Matador makes for good cocktail conversation. "After you see this delightful black comedy about a hit man gone to seed, you'll never again pigeonhole Brosnan as a tuxedo-clad sophisticate with nerves of steel," wrote Jack Garner of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The Matador: Struttin'.

If you can't get enough of cinematic assassins, lock and load your Netflix queue with Point of No Return (45 percent), Grosse Point Blank (76 percent), and The Memory of a Killer (83 percent).

Authors: Alex Vo, Tim Ryan, Sara Schieron