Friday, December 17, 2010

'Matchstick Men' is a fun tale of a con man's redemption

Matchstick Men (2003)
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman, and Bruce McGill
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When professional (and deeply neurotic and obsessive compulsive) con artist Roy (Cage) finds himself connecting with Angela (Lohman), the 14-year-old daughter he never knew he had, he decides to leave behind his life of crime, get a real job, and become a real father. However, when the last job with his partner (Rockwell) goes horribly wrong, Roy finds himself sacrificing far more for fatherhood than he had evern intended.

"Matchstick Men" is part con-artist caper film and part redemption story. It's also a movie that features a twist-ending that makes perfect sense, is genre appropriate, and still manages to surprise viewers. The fact it features a twist ending that actually works makes this a remarkable film in the light of the crap writers and directors have been foisting on us the past couple of decades, but the film is well-acted, beautifully filmed, and the editing techniques used to illustrate Roy's psychological episodes when he's under too much pressure is fabulously creative. The twist isn't the only good thing about the script, as the dialogue is sharp throughout and the characters well-drawn and believable.

Check this one out, if you liked films like "The Sting", or if you enjoy movies that are first-and-foremost about human relationships and that manage to deliver endings that pull off a fate for the the main characters that's holds both happy-sappy and poetic justice qualities.

1 comment:

M. Hufstader said...

Here, here--I thought this movie was brilliant, had lovable characters, and was wonderfully and SMARTLY executed. Vastly underrated movie and I'm honestly kind of surprised it hasn't got more attention. Great review, though, I haven't seen it in a while and this was just the kicker I needed to go back and rewatch it.