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Matchstick Men (2003)

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, more...
Director: Ridley Scott, Ridley Scott
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Classic Crime, Crime, Capers, Classic Crime
Running Time: 116 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Ridley Scott directs the crime comedy Matchstick Men, based on the novel of the same name by Eric Garcia. Neurotic con man Roy (Nicolas Cage) suffers from several emotional problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. He and his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell) swindle people out of money by posing as money collectors who promise things like tax refunds, package vacations, and other fabulous prizes (which they never get). Frank wants to pull a really big job, but Roy is too consumed with fear and panic attacks to join him. Only cigarettes and his trusty illegal prescription drugs seem to keep him going. When Roy finds himself in desperate need of more pills, he is forced to see legitimate psychotherapist Dr. Klein (Bruce Altman). Roy ends up talking about his emotional damage from a troubled marriage and divorce, which results in the discovery of a child whom he has never met. Dr. Klein suggests that he spend a weekend with the kid, so in walks teenaged Angela (played by twentysomething Alison Lohman). Reluctant to develop his role as a father, Roy also gets heavily involved in Frank's ambitious swindle. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Tricks of the Trade: Making Matchstick Men
  • Commentary by the Director and Writers

GreenCine Member Reviews

forget that it's a con movie, and it works better by alexjb May 3, 2005 - 11:47 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
so the commentary track says ridley scott knocked this off as a time-filler while waiting for the schedule on some other project to kick in. maybe that's why it feels like there's not much to it. or maybe it's because i was looking for the wrong thing out of it?

this film has some cool things about it- the visual style is rather nice; alison lohman is easy on the eyes; i'm not a fan of cage, and i found him less annoying here than i usually do, whatever that's worth.

as a con movie, i found this lacking. the cons are not terribly complex, the reveals came too late to be terribly surprising, and i don't feel like they did as much explaining of cons as a typical con movie.

however, as more of a character study (as another reviewer put it, showing the father-daughter bond), i think it shows in a better light. cage's character is in a rut, demonstrated by his experience of worsening OCD symptoms, and this experience shakes him out of it. the way that he deals with that experience, i found that i liked a lot, and respected. gives me hope that anyone can evolve, given the right stimuli.

to the other reviewers point about lacking believability, i think you have to see the cage character not as a top of his game conman, but as a careful, steady, easy-con workhorse, taking easy marks over a very long time. not the usual con movie character, but believable, IMHO.

Good! by DZermeno September 23, 2004 - 1:40 PM PDT
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Matchstick Men was a very enjoyable flick. It showed a semi-humorous glimpse of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and also showed the heartwarming bond between a father and daughter. All of the characters were quirky and the plot moved pretty fast. Of course, a twist at the end doesn't hurt either. I'll say no more. For enjoyable good-guy bad-guy flick, rent this one!

An obsessive-compulsive "con" man? Yeah, right... by talltale May 29, 2004 - 7:14 AM PDT
1 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I found MATCHSTICK MEN so incredibly unbelievable that, after an hour or so, I had to click off--despite an utterly winning performance from Alison Lohman. (Add a blip or two on the rating scale if you're a Lohman fan.) Cage's work in this one beats out even "Adaptation" for quantity of tics and level of general weirdness. If you buy the idea that a crack con artist could have this major an obsessive/compulsive disorder (come on: he falls apart during the movie's first "con"), then I have a bridge in New York I'd like to sell you. There are so many false notes throughout that I'd wear out my 1,000-word limit trying to list them. Maybe the best way to approach the film is as something perfectly appropriate: A movie about con artists that is itself a total cheat.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.20)
159 Votes
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