Pierce Brosnan’s Best Movies

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance

You’ve gotta have chutzpah to try remaking a Steve McQueen classic, so even if director John McTiernan’s 1999 update on The Thomas Crown Affair had turned out to be a complete dud, you’d have to give Pierce Brosnan credit simply for agreeing to step into the iconic tough guy’s shoes. Happily for all concerned, the new-look Crown turned out to be not only a worthwhile diversion for caper flick fans, but a relatively rare example of an action-adventure movie that isn’t overpopulated with twentysomething stars. Opined Jeffrey Overstreet for Looking Closer, “For those who still have a shred of sophistication left, and an appreciation for mind games rather than mere shock-treatment, here’s a summer movie for you.”

The Fourth Protocol (1987)

Action, Drama, Thriller

The 1980s brought us countless spy thrillers with portentous-sounding titles, starring steely countenanced, suavely accented dudes wielding pistols in pursuit of microchips, bombs, and the like, so a person could be forgiven for passing over 1987’s The Fourth Protocol in the mistaken belief that it was just another one of the many generic entries in that oft-abused genre. They’d still be missing out, however, because Protocol is an uncommonly smart 1980s spy thriller, adapted by Frederick Forsythe from his own novel and starring Brosnan and Michael Caine as, respectively, the evil Russian and the British agent who’s trying to catch him. Foreshadowing Brosnan’s cinematic future, the Washington Post’s Desson Thomson wrote, “Protocol is espionage as exhilarating as the better Bond, but with less of the winky camp. This is deadly stuff: We see just how easy atomic terrorism would be.”

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Comedy, Drama, Family

It was Robin Williams who undoubtedly got most of Mrs. Doubtfire‘s laughs — and carried the movie, as well as several pounds of latex, while wearing a dress — but when considering the vast appeal of this hit 1993 comedy, we must not discount the charming, subtly bewildered work of Pierce Brosnan as Stuart “Stu” Dunmire, a guy who just wants to date Sally Field but ends up the victim of cinema’s first and only run-by fruiting. “In terms of plot, the film is rather feeble,” admitted ReelViews’ James Berardinelli. “But sometimes there’s more to a movie than story, and this is one of those rare occasions when all the other elements pull together and lift the production.”

Love is All You Need (2012)

Comedy, Romance

Bond films notwithstanding, Brosnan’s spent a significant portion of his film career taking on roles that downplay his rakish charm. But every so often he’ll sign up for a project like Love Is All You Need, director Susanne Bier’s gorgeous, souffle-light romance about the beautifully shot sparks that fly when an English widower living in Denmark (Brosnan) crosses paths with a jilted hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm). While Bier may not have been able to resist a number of rom-com cliches, the end result proved sufficiently fresh to melt most critics’ hearts, chiefly because of the seemingly effortless chemistry between Love‘s two eye-pleasing leads. “We’ve seen enough romantic comedy to know these two are destined to fall for each other,” wrote the Miami Herald’s Connie Ogle, “but Bier is that rare filmmaker who can make you wonder if there will actually be a happy ending.”

The Matador (2005)

Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Thriller

What could an ordinary businessman and a worn-out hitman possibly have in common? In the real world, maybe not much. But in Richard Shepard’s The Matador, that unlikely-seeming setup provides the grist for a quirky, darkly funny buddy flick starring Greg Kinnear as the businessman and Brosnan as the assassin. His post-Bond work generally hasn’t been as high-profile as the films he starred in as 007, but Brosnan’s success on her majesty’s secret service has freed him up to take offbeat roles in offbeat projects, and here, critics argued that the results were richly rewarding. According to eFilmCritic’s Rob Gonsalves, “Brosnan’s work as a monster who’d like to become human, but has no idea how, is painfully funny.”

The Tailor of Panama (2001)

Comedy, Drama, Thriller

When you sit down to watch a John le Carré spy movie, you know you aren’t going to get a lot of the stuff we tend to depend on for our espionage thrills; gunplay, car chases, and general derring-do are downplayed in favor of literate, relatively dense plots that derive their quietly building tension from small, impeccably performed moments. The results tend not to cause much of a stir at the box office, where The Tailor of Panama failed to make a major dent, but they’re generally well-received by critics, and this is no exception: Director John Boorman’s adaptation of le Carré’s 1996 novel about a disgraced spy (Brosnan) who gets mixed up with a tailor (Geoffrey Rush) he tries to convert into an MI6 asset won praise from writers eager to absorb a smart thriller for grownups. As Peter Rainer warned for New York Magazine, “If you think the spy-thriller genre has been streamlined and spoofed and subverted until nothing new can be done to it, think again.”

GoldenEye (1995)

Action, Adventure, Thriller

Years after missing out on the opportunity to play James Bond due to his Remington Steele commitments, Brosnan finally grabbed the martini glass for 1995’s GoldenEye, restoring the layer of suave menace and playful humor that many viewers felt the character had been missing for far too long. Like most Bond flicks, it was a sizable hit, but it also struck a chord with critics, most of whom pointed to Brosnan’s performance as a key component of GoldenEye‘s success. Calling him “Lean, dark and graceful,” TV Guide’s Maitland McDonagh wrote, “Brosnan wraps his perfectly calculated accent around all the standard phrases without making us hear quotation marks.”

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Mystery, Thriller

Brosnan stepped in front of the cameras for Roman Polanski with 2010’s The Ghost Writer, a political thriller that takes veiled shots at former British Prime Minister Tony Blair with a deep vein of black humor. Starring as a former PM whose potentially duplicitous deeds threaten to come to light during the writing of his memoirs — possibly threatening the life of his ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) — he was clearly having a good time, and that light touch helps keep Writer‘s tension from becoming overbearing. “The great thing about Brosnan’s performance is that his character’s shadow looms over the entire film,” wrote Matt Neal for the Standard, “yet Brosnan never resorts to chewing the scenery or becoming a Blair caricature.”

Pierce Brosnan’s Best Movies was originally published on Something Different

Pierce Brosnan’s Best Movies was originally published on Something Different

Pierce Brosnan’s Best Movies was originally published on Something Different

Pierce Brosnan’s Best Movies was originally published on Something Different

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