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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2003!
MATCHSTICK MEN, 2003
Cast: Nicholas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill, Jenny O'Hara
Meet Roy and Frank, a couple of professional small-time con artists. What Roy, a veteran of the grift, and Frank, his ambitious protégé, are swindling these days are "water filtration systems," bargain-basement water filters bought by unsuspecting people who pay ten times their value in order to win bogus prizes like cars, jewelry and overseas vacations--which they never collect. These scams net the flim-flam men a few hundred here, another thousand there, which eventually adds up to a lucrative partnership.
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A quirky offbeat comedy that stars Nicolas Cage as a con man, or con artist as he claims, whose daily life consist of dealing with his neurosis as he cons people out of their money. The difference between a con man and a con artist, he contends, is that people give the con artist their money, he doesn’t take it. This thin rational is what helps him sleep at night, but does little to soothe his ticks or OCD.
Meanwhile, he discovers that he has a daughter, Angela, played the amiable Allison Lohman. She claims to be the child of his ex wife Heather, who he hasn’t seen in years. While skeptical at first, the two develop of father/daughter relationship. But Roy’s eccentric partner in crime Frank (Rockwell) sets up a potential “client” to con. Unfortunately the con doesn’t go quite as plan.
There was a time when Nicholas Cage actually did quality work. From Raising Arizona to Adaptation to now Matchstick Men, Cage showed a range of terrific films showcasing his talent and the reason why he is a movie star. Unfortunately for him, he seemed to have peaked at this point.
But here he’s great. No actor could really pull off the anit social offbeat character with a charismatic personality. Cage has played those types of characters in other films and he’s always done an excellent job.
Sam Rockwell is great as well as the goofy partner who acts more like a little brother than a professional. Allison Lohman is also great here. She’s a young actress who has made wise career decisions playing opposite of some big names in Hollywood such as Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicolas Cage.
The screenplay is smart. The story is more character driven and the actors do a wonderful breathing life into each of their characters. But there’s also a theme of dishonesty here that’s also well crafted throughout the film that cleverly deals with it through its characters.
Matchstick Men is an engaging and touching film with plenty of laughs and compelling moments. Ridley Scott hits the right notes from beginning to end with a welcomed and interesting twist that relates back to the theme of dishonesty. One of the treasures of Cage’s career before he started doing films that barely showcase his talent, Matchstick Men is a great film.