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Overall Rating

Awesome: 30.67%
Worth A Look40%
Just Average: 17.33%
Pretty Crappy: 10.67%
Sucks: 1.33%

4 reviews, 51 user ratings

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Matchstick Men
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Nicolas Cage takes the path of con."
4 stars

The men referred to in the title of "Matchstick Men" are two con artists, Roy (Nicolas Cage) and Frank (Sam Rockwell). They live in the artificial city of Los Angeles, have a number of artificial identities, and use small-time fictions to scam average people out of their money. Frank even wears a clip-on tie; nothing about these guys, it seems, is real.

But Roy, whose story this really is, is plagued with psychological problems. He's obsessive-compulsive and beset with tics and twitches. New medication from his new psychologist Dr. Klein (Bruce Altman) is helping, but stressful situations set him back again, not the least of which is the sudden appearance of a daughter he never knew he had, 14-year-old Angela (Alison Lohman).

Angela's mom left Roy when she was two months pregnant; until now, Roy didn't know what happened. He tries to hide his work from Angela, unsuccessfully; it is hard to keep anything from a crying child, especially one who just wants to get to know her daddy better.

Inevitably, Roy teaches Angela a con, and she takes to it like a duck to water. They get along. They like each other. Roy starts to overcome his problems. A life of conning is good.

This cannot last, of course, and just when you think the film has no place to go, it finds someplace to go. It's a con caper, a heart-warming family drama, and a gut-wrenching comedy, all at once. Angela revitalizes Roy, changes his life -- not in the generic way long-lost movie daughters revitalize their movie fathers, but in a way that feels much more genuine. Eventually, her presence in his life leads to developments we would not have suspected, suggesting that whatever you think this movie is, it is probably something else.

Sam Rockwell is always a welcome presence, no less so here as the free-wheeling Frank. And Alison Lohman holds her own as Ray's precocious daughter.

Nicolas Cage, fresh off two fantastic performances in "Adaptation," gives some more of his best work here. His portrayal of a difficult, troubled man is honest and non-caricatured. Roy is a character who often cannot act and can only be acted upon. Cage conveys this with appropriate frustration, humor and conviction.

The film is directed with great amusing quirkiness by Ridley Scott, who is better known for his large-scale films like "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down." Smaller, character-driven work like this isn't his usual style, but he handles it like it a pro. Of course, when some unexpected action occurs midway through the picture, you can feel Scott really getting down to business, like he's been quietly waiting for that moment all along. You'll realize you've been waiting for it, too.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8130&reviewer=247
originally posted: 09/12/03 18:33:37
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User Comments

8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Nicholas Cage is great in all his films. 5 stars
5/17/07 ES yeah, predictable but enjoyable none the less 4 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Too contrived by half. Utterly predictable. 2 stars
4/29/06 Agent Sands Very comfortably atmospheric con flick with a brilliant cast and production values. 5 stars
2/22/06 Frank Rountree Cage was great! good movie 4 stars
10/25/05 roy holt Rockwell is outstanding 5 stars
10/23/05 Indrid Cold Extremely well done, but mega twist endings are getting tiresome. 5 stars
7/07/05 ALDO enjoyable movie...well worth a look 4 stars
7/06/05 Steve Newman Guessed the end with 20 mins to go - what a great film though - go see!!! 5 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Nic provides another amazing performance. Hilarious, with the OCD and all. 5 stars
12/29/04 R.W. Welch Too contrived for its own good, but manages to be entertaining enough. 3 stars
11/27/04 Monday Morning Stylish & well done but why did Nic choose that particular psychiatrist? A real stretch. 4 stars
11/11/04 Phil M. Aficionado Loses one star for some "stretches", but very entertaining and well done by cast. 4 stars
11/01/04 Marc Tebo Great movie all around...How did Cage & Lohman not get nominated?? Wonderfully acted!! 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH Its OK, but the ending while good does leave some loose ends 3 stars
9/25/04 VIctor Cage needs career counseling; his everyman stunts are getting tiresome like all his movies 1 stars
9/23/04 Agent Sands One of the greatest con movies ever made. Either flawless or nearly so. Never gets old. 5 stars
9/13/04 Shams Huque Damn good! Cage is great as always. 5 stars
9/05/04 jmsynth Whether you love or hate the ending, this is something of a must-see 4 stars
7/24/04 chandrasekar cage rocks with his performance 4 stars
6/06/04 Ry Good Movie, nice ending. 4 stars
6/02/04 Agent Sands Thumbs way up!!! Nic Cage seems to really like these neurotic types, & Ridley diversifies. 5 stars
5/03/04 Paul This is an interesting twist on a con movie 5 stars
4/10/04 alan this was supposed to be a comedy, right? 3 stars
4/09/04 teresa brown i loved it 5 stars
3/12/04 Rebecca I must have missed something here 3 stars
3/11/04 jimmy two times great littlle big film. very touching. surprised me in how good it was. 5 stars
3/08/04 ownerofdajoint what a great flick!! 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser A really intelligent and "something-between-the-ears" film! Congrats! 5 stars
3/06/04 Helen Bradley Cage is great excellent film script acting 5 stars
3/03/04 Star-Crosser Resfreshing and character-driven. Ranks among Scott's best. 5 stars
2/26/04 Ben Ziegler Cage is superb, Rockwell is Rockwell and Lohman is frickin adorable. Clever and cool. 4 stars
12/01/03 Brianna omg! it was so good, 5 stars
10/29/03 zeb woodhatch a twist to knoch your socks off 4 stars
10/18/03 greg Bad con film, Great character study! 3 stars
10/12/03 John Bale Twitchy Cage & quirky Lohman excell in this compassionate story with a sting in the tail. 5 stars
10/05/03 Doc Hollywood I agree Allison Lohman acted Nick Cage off the stage. Slow start but enjoyable. 4 stars
10/01/03 Bill Cumberson Allison Lohman steals the show 4 stars
9/26/03 Quizical A very good movie until the last 10 minutes when everything turns very lame. 3 stars
9/26/03 Mr. Hat An absolute hands-down major fucking masterpiece up until the last 10 minutes. 4 stars
9/24/03 jawsboy24 Not bad. Cage does a great job! Lohman is also great! Rockwell rocks!! Not bad. Good acting 4 stars
9/22/03 Titus Fun movie, nice to see Cage doing some acting. 4 stars
9/21/03 Josh Fun and engaging; Cage is fantastic. 4 stars
9/18/03 Tom good acting; plenty of twists 4 stars
9/17/03 Superdave i loved this movie, fuckin outstanding 5 stars
9/15/03 david i liked it 4 stars
9/14/03 Benjamin Leatherman First two-thirds are good, then it descends into maudlin and tedium 3 stars
9/05/03 Hart so clever and funny, As Good As It Gets meets Ocean 11 5 stars
9/05/03 Michelle stylish, quirky, and fun. the acting is awesome. 5 stars
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  12-Sep-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Feb-2004



Directed by
  Ridley Scott

Written by
  Ted Griffin
  Nick Griffin

  Nicolas Cage
  Sam Rockwell
  Alison Lohman
  Bruce Altman
  Bruce McGill
  Fran Kranz

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