Matchstick Men

( 7 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Recent years have seen Nicolas Cage starring in several flamboyant action movies, but this versatile actor generally does his best work when interpreting complex, eccentric characters. In Matchstick Men, he plays a real doozy: con man Roy Waller, one of the slickest in the game, despite the fact that he’s a walking bundle of obsessive-compulsive disorders. He doesn’t like surprises, so you can imagine his initial reaction to Angela Alison Lohman, the teenage girl who shows up on his doorstep and claims to be his daughter. Fatherhood is tough on most men, but it threatens to make a basket case of Roy, whose partner Sam Rockwell has just set up a potentially big score. Bad timing or what? The complications come fast and furious in this delightful film, sharply written by Nicholas Griffin and directed with élan by Ridley Scott, who reveals a heretofore unsuspected affinity for comedy. Witty lines and clever situations abound, with the action building to a surprising climax; but it’s the cast that really puts Matchstick Men over. Cage's performance is nothing short of remarkable. He uses neurotic tics to punctuate laugh lines and darts about with enough nervous energy to power a football stadium, yet he manages to display tenderness and compassion. Lohman holds her own in scenes with Cage, radiating a charming, winsome quality while investing her character with just the right amount of edge. Rockwell also shines as Cage's glib, smarmy partner, and Bruce McGill is excellent as the unwitting mark. They work together seamlessly under Scott's nuanced direction, and the result is an unusually satisfying film teeming with memorable moments.
All Movie Guide
It's easy to see why a film about a con man with a legitimate personality disorder -- as opposed to the routine kind that springs from a bad childhood -- would be attractive to actors and directors. Most actors are eager to perform the tics associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and for directors, this extra plot wrinkle legitimizes their interest in an otherwise ordinary genre film. Too bad these personal artistic goals aren't quite so satisfying for the audience. In Matchstick Men, Nicolas Cage and Ridley Scott reach these accomplishments with total competence -- though it should be noted that Scott's grandiose techniques have come to seem more suited to the epics he makes, rather than small movies like this. It's just that none of it results in a very memorable movie. Scott's fascination with Roy's OCD rituals creates a kind of narrative paralysis in the film, unintentionally mirroring the character's own stunted development. These men's abilities to execute their con -- and how the unexpected arrival of Roy's daughter impacts that -- don't seem to have very urgent stakes. Furthermore, the con doesn't seem particularly ingenious, as Nicholas Griffin's script contains few of the details on technique that can keep a good grifter movie rolling. Alison Lohman does a good job in the Lolita role, seducing marks to trust her through a disarmingly natural comfort with the con game. Sam Rockwell doesn't fare so well in the other key supporting role, as he delivers yet another variation on the terminally hip wise guy with the retro wardrobe, which had brought the actor overnight overexposure by late 2003.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/24/2004
  • UPC: 085392467532
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: WARNER HOME VIDEO
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicolas Cage Roy Waller
Sam Rockwell Frank Mercer
Alison Lohman Angela
Bruce Altman Dr. Klein
Bruce McGill Chuck Frechette
Fran Kranz Slacker Boyfriend
Sheila Kelley Kathy
Beth Grant Laundry Lady
Steve Eastin Mr. Schaffer
Nigel Gibbs Holt
Tim Kelleher Bishop
Jenny O'Hara Mrs. Schaffer
Technical Credits
Ridley Scott Director, Producer
Sean Bailey Producer
Dody Dorn Editor
Giannina Facio Co-producer
Tom Foden Production Designer
Ted Griffin Producer, Screenwriter
Nicholas Griffin Screenwriter
K.C. Hodenfield Asst. Director
Michael Kaplan Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Manson Art Director
John Mathieson Cinematographer
Nancy Nye Set Decoration/Design
Lee Orloff Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Rapke Producer
William V. Ryder Set Decoration/Design
Charles Schlissel Co-producer
Steve Starkey Producer
Debra Zane Casting
Robert Zemeckis Executive Producer
Hans Zimmer Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Oh Man!! Wow!!

    Oh,man. This movie was real funny, and I can't believe what happens. This was so crazy, I didn't expect the ending. It's like you got punched in the chest, its so surprising. But it is a very well written script, and exquisite filming. I can't believe how excellent this movie is. It is such a great movie!! I loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great film!

    If you love suprising twists in movies, this movie is for you. It has a great script and very good acting. I guarentee you'll love it, as well as some of the other titles listed below. (* indicate my favorites)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A candle that never burns out.

    One of the funniest movies I've seen since paper moon. Allison Lohman is terrific and hot. She makes being bad look good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Loved It!

    I absolutely loved this movie. From Nicholas Cage's hilariously quarky character to the surprize ending, it was terrific. Very well scripted and left you with a smile. The only reason that I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it did drag a bit in places.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews