Roy and Frank are a couple of professional small-time con artists. Through
small time scams, preying on the lonely and old, flim-flam men get a few hundred here, another thousand there, which
eventually adds up to a lucrative partnership. Roy’s private life is another
story entirely. An obsessive-compulsive agoraphobic with no personal
relationships to call his own, Roy is barely hanging on to his wits, and when
his idiosyncrasies begin to threaten his criminal productivity he’s forced to
seek the help of a psychoanalyst just to keep him in working order. While Roy is
looking for a quick fix, his therapy begets more than he bargained for: the
revelation that he has a teenage daughter--a child whose existence he suspected
but never dared confirm. What’s more troubling, 14-year-old Angela wants to meet
the father she never knew. At first, Angela’s appearance disrupts her neurotic
father’s carefully ordered routine. Soon, however, with his own unique spin on
parenthood, Roy begins to enjoy a relationship he never dreamed of having with
his daughter. But while he develops paternal feelings for the 14-year-old, she’s
developing a fascination with Daddy’s questionable career.
Nicolas Cage, famous for delving deep into his characters psyche, portrays a
middle-aged con artist who finds solitude in the most unlikely places. As
much as box office patrons want to think this movie is about the grift
(con), it isn't. The grift is inconsequential to the progression of the
script. The grift simply gives the movie a backdrop or setting from which
the storyline evolves. Although the grift doesn't have to be mind boggling
for this movie to succeed, it's pretty good and enables the movie to stand
alone even without dialogue and acting.
Since the grift itself is ingenious it takes a lot of pressure off the
actors/actresses in the movie and allows them to give powerful performances.
Nicolas Cage does a brilliant job of giving Roy Waller the right amount of
ticks and paranoia to make the character believable and debilitated at the
same time. Therefore the rest of the script and relationships which ensue
seem validated and flow well on the big screen.
Alison Lohman convincingly portrays Angela a 14-year old skateboarding
teen queen who wants nothing else except to know her fathers ins and outs.
Through their relationships together Roy Waller becomes more confident in
his personal life which once you have seen the ending you will understand
When movies don't rely on high-end CG (computer graphics) and big budget
action sequences, they tend to rely on character transformations during the
movie. Although this is an overused device in modern cinema it is so
effectively utilized in this film that it becomes unique in its own little
way. Definitely one of the biggest surprises of the year, Matchstick Men
is a must see for fans of the con-driven comedy drama genre.
See this movie if you're a fan of:
Nicolas Cage (Actor, Adaptation, Face-Off, Con-Air)
Ridley Scott (Director, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Hannibal, Alien)
Conning strangers using elaborate methods