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Matchstick Men (DVD)

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      23.02.2010 21:42
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      A great movie that will compell most for 2 hours !

      "Matchstick Men" is a 2003 Drama directed by Ridley Scott and starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell.

      ----------------------------
      The Plot

      Roy Walter ( Nicolas Cage ) and Frank Mercer ( Sam Rockwell ) are partners, they're also Con Artists residing in LA California, Roy is a troubled individual who suffers from several mental disorders including Agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder.

      Roy and Frank have set up a fake lottery scam involving cheap water filtration systems and due to his skill and meager lifestyle Roy has saved over one million dollars.

      After an episode Frank suggests Roy visit a psychotherapist, Dr Klein ( Bruce Altman ) who prescribes roy some medication, also during his visits Roy opens up about his past relationships and the possibility that he has a child, after Klein mentions to Roy that he called his ex-wife and that Roy has a 14 year old daughter, and Roy's initial hesitation at getting involved with her, he agrees to meet her ( Melora Walters )

      And so Roy's life is turned upside down as he has to learn to be a father to a free spirited daughter, all the while keeping his partner happy and continuing with his Grifting ways and dealing with his daughters eagerness to learn the family business, but all is not as it seems and soon Roy discovers a shocking secret !!

      ----------------------------------------------

      Matchstick Men is quite an unusual movie and will certainly not appeal to everyone, the real shining light in this movie are the performances by Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell who have honed their craft so well that they each perform their parts perfectly, Cage fitting nicely into the role of neurotic Roy, and Rockwell equally convincing as the younger, more brash and irresponsible Frank, also the supporting cast do their jobs very well and all together help create a compelling story with some very believable performances.

      The Directing by Ridley Scott is spot on and suits the quirkiness of the script, combined with a picture perfect score by my favourite soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer all gel to create a movie that will be enjoyed by most

      The only negatives of this particular movie is while the ending is a little predictable and I was able to see the outcome about half way through the movie, the way it gets there is seamless and leaves you doubting yourself, also the ending is a little sentimental and I feel like a more edgy. off-key ending would have suited this movie more, but nevertheless for movie fans and indeed fans of either Cage or Rockwell this is some must see viewing, but for casual movie fans who just want to switch their brains off for 90 minutes this may not be your cup of tea.

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        14.09.2009 12:16
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        Superior con-flick, one of the best films of '03

        Matchstick Men is a 2003 comedy/thriller directed by Ridley Scott, which focuses on the story on Roy Waller (Nicholas Cage) and Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell), a couple of small-time con artists (or Matchstick Men).

        The film opens with seasoned veteran Roy and Frank, his ambitious protege, conning unsuspecting customer by selling them "water filtration systems," who pay ten times their value in order to win fake prizes such as holidays and cars...which they never receive. Whilst not the con of the century, these scams eventually adds up to a fairly lucrative partnership.

        Roy's private life, however, is in total chaos. An agoraphobe with obsessive compulsive dirosrder and with no personal relationships to call his own, Roy is slowly going insane, and when his idiosyncrasies begin to threaten his career as a crimincal he's forced to seek the help of a psychiatrist just to keep him in order. While Roy is looking for a quick fix (i.e. a prescription for medication), his therapy yields 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 (Alison Lohman) wants to meet the father she never knew. At first, Angela's appearance upsets father's carefully ordered routine. Soon, however, with his own unique methos of parenting 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. Finally, at Angela's insistence and against his better judgment, the overprotective con artist begins teaching her some tricks of the trade and, much to his ambivalent mix of surprise, pride and dismay, she displays a remarkable gift for the grift. But that could seriously jeopardize Roy's peace of mind - not to mention his whole way of life.

        The appeal of "Matchstick Men" is derived primarily from the appeal and solid work of its leads, Cage, Lohman, and Sam Rockwell, who is Cage's partner in crime. Akin to his role in "Adaptation", Cage plays an idiosyncratic person who exhibits symptoms and tics similar to one with Tourette's Syndrome. He does this without succumbing to the temptation to overact, instead effectively melding it into his character. Lohman, who was twenty-two at the time of shooting, remarkably blends her real-life maturity with the proper carriage of her 14-year old character, never giving an indication of the age gap. Rockwell epitomizes an intelligent con man in his supporting role, oozing sliminess while maintaining a professional air. This trio creates a very likable set of characters that carry the film. You may or may not relate to them (I didn't) and may or may not be a fan of the actors themselves (I'm not a big Cage fan), but you will undoubtedly enjoy watching them (I did).

        A braid of professionalism weaves through the technical aspects of the entire film as well, also contributing to its appeal. From the top down, every facet of production is well done, even though the picture is not typical fare for many of its participants. Usually behind the lens of big-budget movies like "Black Hawk Down", Ridley Scott adjusts well to this smaller picture, utilizing his preference for few takes to get the most out of everyone involved. The editing of Dody Dorn ("Memento")is noteworthy for its tone-matching flexibility. She mirrors the actions of Cage by using a jumpier editing style when his symptoms are worse and a more traditional technique when he calms down.

        Hans Zimmer has also adapted his score to the nature of the film. Known for his soaring work in action films like "Gladiator", Zimmer instead accents the lighter side of "Matchstick Men" by eschewing blaring horns and dramatic strings in favor of a largely percussive score that nearly sounds as though recorded on a synthesizer. The clever editing and atmospheric music combine with John Mathieson's solid blue-green cinematography that stresses the contrast of light and dark to perfectly fulfill the roles of the technical aspects. Everything matches well to present a singular look and feel that provide an enjoyable film experience, hindered partially by a quirk of pacing.

        The first ninety minutes proceed leisurely, gently telling the story of a father and daughter. As the last half hour hits the gas, it throws you back in your seat, disrupting the established pace and eliminating the majority of the humor that had marked the film. Much of the first ninety minutes could be classified as comedy, while the final scenes fall into the drama/thriller category. Given the content of the script, I don't think this is a poor decision, but the abrupt switch in tone still jars the viewer into a few moments of discomfort.

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          12.09.2009 18:54
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          An excellent film :)

          Matchstick Men film only review

          Details:
          Directed By: Ridley Scott
          Release Date: 19 September 2003
          Runtime: 116 minutes
          Certification: 12 (UK)
          Starring:
          Nicholas Cage
          Sam Rockwell
          Alison Lohman

          Plot:
          Roy Walter is a phobic con artist; agrophobic and OCD been his main problems. His partner Frank Mercer looks up to him as his teacher. They have been in the game. Roy has an ex wife, Heather, who when she left him 15 years ago, was 2 months pregnant. Roy who has been taking illegally bought pills for his phobia, goes to a clinic on the words of Frank to get help. The shrink Dr Klein, perscribes him pills, and gets him talking about his life with his ex, and his life now as an "antiques salesman". Dr. Klein gets in touch with Roys ex wife, who he hasn't spoken to since the day she left him, and discovers he has a daughter, Angela who is 14.

          Angela soon makes a close connection with Roy, and they start seeing each other more and more, and eventually she discovers Roy's real job as a con artists and asks if she can learn a trick.

          But when a con goes wrong, and Roy, Frank and Angela end up in danger after conning thousands out of a rich business man, everything gets turned upside down for Roy.

          I can't really say anything else about the films plot without giving away the ending, or any revealing plot lines, but that is the basic premise of the film!

          Opinion:
          I watched this film in the cinema with my friend Katie when it first came out in around 2003, I don't honestly know what made us go and watch this film, as normally we would go and watch something girly, maybe we had a thing for Nicholas Cage. But we went to watch it and loved it, since then I have seen the film a handful of times. Nicholas Cage is one of my favourite actors, and he plays a great part as Roy in Matchstick Men. And he plays a believable OCD sufferer.

          The storyline is excellent, and has just the right amount of twists and turns to keep us interested and guessing all the way through.
          The other two main characters Frank and Angela are also played well.
          From the beginning of the film, you wouldn't think the character of Frank would play a very big role in the storyline as he isn't really present much in the story, although he flits in and out, he isn't in the limelight all the way through, which makes the ending even more of a twist.

          Angela always seems a little strange in the film, although she is Roys daughter, she acts like she has known him all her life, even though she is only just meeting him for the first time, after been told by her mother he is dead, and then told he was actually in prison, all of which is a lie, she isn't apprehensive at all about meeting him on her own for the first time, and acts like a cheeky teenager all the way through, now when you reach the ending, this makes sense, but as your watching the film, it strikes you as bad acting/directing as she should really be shy and apprehensive, even if it's only for a day.

          I like the fact the film doesn't follow the romance aspect which could have been made the main storyline in this film with the lady in the supermarket who Roy has taken a fancy to, instead she is left as sub plot line which isn't over done, and is actually done in a very realistic way.

          I really enjoyed the film, and as I said earlier have watched it over and over again, and I would continue to watch it again and again. Great for anyone over around 12, as there is a bit of bad language and violence.

          A fabulous film :)

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            16.03.2009 18:25
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            Gritty, poignant drama that keeps you entertained for all 111 mins.

            Matchstick Men is a drama from director Ridley Scott, packed full of heart and comedic moments. It centres around veteran conman and full time obsessive-compulsive Roy Waller and how his life is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of his 14 year-old daughter Angela.

            The film is a funny, gritty and emotional rollercoaster that culminates in a wonderful shock ending. Excellent performances from Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman draw you in and move the film along at a decent pace, while the chemestry between the three is often extremely poignant.

            Matchstick Men was not a massive box office success when released, but it is a diamond in the rough that is well worth a look at, especially if you enjoy films like Grifters or Tv series like Hustle. I highly recommend this film.

            The DVD itself is packed with extras, including an audio commentary, 3 behind the scenes featurettes and trailers.

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              11.04.2008 19:07
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              Watch it!!!!

              Roy is an obsessive compulsive clearly neurotic but successful conman. On the verge of his and his partner, Frank's most lucrative con yet, Roy's therapist informs him that he has a 14 year old daughter that he had always suspected he had but never previously dared to confirm. How will Roy manage to forge a good relationship with his daughter and make up for all those lost years, whilst also dealing with his neurotic hang ups and also succeeding in the biggest con of his career?

              Roy is played by Nicolas Cage (World Trade Centre) and in my opinion it is his best film to date, that I have seen at least. Not only is the film simply the best in quality out of his previous works, he also is on top form portraying Roy. Where I've never really felt Nicolas Cage struggle in any role, his performance here is on top note, and plays the character of Roy, who is a complex character himself well. Alison Lohman (White Oleander) takes on the role of Roy's daughter superbly, and though she was around 22 at the time of filming the part of a 14 year old I felt that she didn't look too old for the part. We are of course subjected to older people acting as younger ones in many productions, so I am perhaps not to harsh on judging this, but it wasn't for example as silly as trying to picture James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek really being school age Dawson, when he is clearly an adult. With Alison Lohman she look's perfectly believable. She plays the part outstandingly and I think she is an excellent actress, her performance here is almost flawless, as it was also in White Oleander and she is clearly very talented. Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile) played the role of Roy's partner in crime Frank well too. All around the performance from the cast was of a great quality.

              The character's themselves were great. The character development was spot on, so that the audience cares about Roy and the developing relationship between himself and his newly acquired daughter.

              This was a film I initially watched upon the recommendation of my brother, when I had little else to do. I wasn't expecting much from it, I'd go as far as saying I didn't particularly want to watch it. From the plot description alone, it wasn't something that sounded particularly thrilling.

              I went into it knowing very little about it and had no clue what to expect from it, and my expectations were very low. This is definitely the best way to go into it because I was so pleasantly surprised by the film that it instantly became an all time favourite of mine.

              It is directed by Ridley Scott who for me has been a mixed bag of whether I will enjoy his films or not. For example, I loved Thelma and Louise, I hated Gladiator. Over all his films have been well made and well liked though, and whilst Matchstick Men is perhaps not one of the most famous films he has made, it is one of the ones I enjoyed the most.

              The film is based on the book by Eric Garcia and whilst anyone who has read the book probably has the curiosity of wanting to watch the film, I doubt it would be as enjoyable. I haven't read the book myself but on a whole if you've read a book first the film tends to end up disappointing, and if you already know what happens, the film isn't going to be quite so amazing to you. That said, I have watched this numerous times since my first viewing and still find it an excellent film to watch, so it isn't a one time only pleasure like for example Derailed, where once you know what happens it's not worth watching. Even on multiple viewings it is a fantastic film although there is nothing quite like watching it that first time and watching it all unfold in front of your eyes.

              I feel it is hard to convey how great this film is in a review, especially since the best way to go in is knowing as little as possible, so I can't really tell you what makes it so brilliant except that the plot is superb and it is executed perfectly. Whilst after reading this you still may not be too sure as to whether this film can really be as good as I am saying, after all I would never have thought from the premise that this could turn out to be as enjoyable as it was, I would still recommend you make the effort to watch it, and if your expectations are low to begin with, then all the better, because by the time you come out the other end of this film I can almost guarantee you will be left feeling the way I am now about it.

              What can I say but watch it! It really is so much better than it sounds!

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                26.11.2007 12:02
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                worth the watch

                Cage, in my view is a very over-rated actor, he has been in many films, the good ones most natably being face-off and conair among my favourites. However I have also seen him in a number of poor films, this one however is worth the watch.

                Cage plays Roy, an interesting character who has an obsesive disorder. I found that Cage played this well and is a role I've never seen him play before. His life becomes very complicated when he is referred to a new doctor who refuses to give him the pills he was on.

                With this in mind it becomes harder for him to continue his day-to-day life as a conman. Of corse he couldnt do this without the help of his assistant and good friend Frank. I found the cons they did in this highly entertaining and amusing, although perhaps I was expecting a bit more in the way of cons...

                Roys life also gets a lot more complicated when he discovers he has a daughter, She ends up finding out his profession and ends up joining in with the fun!

                The film has a twist at the end which comes as a bit of a surprise, although I guess with the film being about conmen you can understand why the directors chose to end it the way they did.

                A highy entertaining film and well worth the watch. At £5.97 with Amazon this is a bargain.

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                  07.10.2007 11:58
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                  A con artists life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when his daughter arrives on the scene.

                  > Synopsis

                  A phobia stricken con artist, Roy Walker (Nicolas Cage) and his young partner, Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell) are on the verge of pulling of one of the most lucrative swindles of their careers. But when Roy's teenage daughter, from his failed marriage, suddenly appears on the scene, everything in his organized life is thrown into turmoil.


                  > Opinion

                  There was only ever going to be one reason why I wanted to see "Matchstick Men", that being Nicolas Cage, an actor who I have enjoyed in every film he has appeared in, and although not the best reason to watch a film has worked pretty successfully so far. That said, having watched the film a few times now on DVD it is not just the brilliant performance of Nicolas Cage, which makes this film so watch able but also the interesting plot and equally interesting characters, which for me makes this film an all round enjoyable viewing experience.

                  One of the things I like the most about the film is that it follows a great three part structure, which although seems to lack a little something in the middle section is compensated by a brilliant intro which hooks you right away and a final section which again draws you back in for a very enjoyable last half hour. Right from the opening seconds of the film, it builds up the character of Roy Walker, the films main focus, and within the first 5 minutes we learn that he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder brought on from his phobias, mainly that of being agoraphobic Of course this is not a laughing matter but the film manages to bring over his problems in such away that it doesn't mock this illness but still makes it light hearted so that it doesn't make the film too serious, all the time building up this fascinating character. Again the film wastes no time in dealing the main facts and we are given a quick glimpse into the world of the con man as Roy and his partner swindle money out of an old couple with a telephone scam. If you are like me, this element of the film is really interesting and throughout the film we get to see different types of hustles which are an eye opening experience at how devious yet simple these cons can be. Where I feel the film struggles is in the middle section, where having introduced us to all the main characters as well as the ground work to the big scam it sort of loses its momentum for a bit, and to be honest the first time I watched this I started to get quite fidgety by its meandering about doing nothing. It is in this middle section where the film explores the different sub stories, you learn more about how Roy deals with his condition and to the extent it controls his life. Plus you also get to watch him try and make up for lost time with a daughter who he has never met. Both of these are beautifully explored but do seem to drag slightly losing the wonderful momentum from the opening part. But then it soon picks up pace again and delivers an exceptional final part which grabs you with every single breath of the film. One of the things that have disappointed me with modern cinema is that most of it is completely predictable and unoriginal, thankfully "Matchstick Men" bucks the trend and caught my attention with a series of twists which I can honestly say I never saw coming.

                  Whilst on it's own the actual plot to the film is brilliant, the way the whole thing comes across from the drama, dialogue, humour and action is absolutely captivating. Usually one of these elements would let the film down but not in the case of "Matchstick Men", especially the dialogue which is incredibly intelligent and meaningful. This may sound strange but not once did it feel like they had included any idle chitter-chatter just to expand the film or fill out moments of quiet. From the snappy dialogue of when a con is going on, through the arguments between Roy and his daughter, as well as the interactions between Roy and a cashier woman in the supermarket, everything had a real meaning and helped towards building up a very watch able film. Likewise with the humour, with a subject matter which features a man's issues with obsessive compulsive disorder, it would have been very easy to overplay this element and make it an uncomfortable viewing experience, but not once did it feel like they were mocking it. But the humour doesn't just focus on Roy's illness and again there are great moments of humour between father and daughter as they learn about each other. I suppose to class it as humour may be a bit misleading as it is more a touch of light heartedness which makes the viewer smile.

                  What for me is quite a surprise is that "Matchstick Men" never received a single Oscar nomination, especially as for me this is one of Nicolas Cage's finest performances. Usually Cage excels at playing the over the top, full in your face characters, but here he shows that he can tone his act down to fit what is a very complex role. What I really liked was that he became the character, from sounding like a man who knew how to run an effective scam, to the man struggling with his phobia and especially the emotional side of a man who is trying to be a father. Where a lesser actor would have struggled to cope with what is nearly 3 different characters, Cage seems to revel in it and despite ample opportunity to over cook the effect of his condition, from the nervous tick, the need to have a routine and the uncontrollable grunting noises, he controls it impeccably to make the character very engrossing. Alongside Cage is Sam Rockwell playing his partner and protégé Frank Mercer, a con artist who is always in search of the quick way to make big money. Again this is another highly well thought out character, which provides contrast to the character of Roy. Where Roy is happy to play it safe and is comfortable with the quick low value hustle, Frank wants the big deal which will set him up for life. Not only is the character well thought out but also the performance of Rockwell who I have to admit seems to make one good film for every 2 bad ones. Making up the ensemble is Alison Lohman as Roy's daughter Angela and is as pivotal to the enjoyment of the film as any of the other actors. Prior to writing this review I had planned to say what a great performance from a teenager, but then whilst checking details on IMDB I learnt that she was actually 23 when she made this film. So I am actually going to say what a stunning performance from a young adult in convincing me I was watching a teenager. Although Nicolas Cage is obviously the main draw for this film, the combination of Cage, Rockwell and Lohman works perfectly, playing of each other brilliantly to the extent that at times Lohman actually steals the show.

                  There are two final elements to this film which make it so good. Firstly taking the directional helm is Ridley Scott, a man who has given us "Gladiator", "Blade Runner" and "Alien" all good films in there own rights but all extremely very visual affairs. But in this case Scott appears to have controlled his need for big visual scenes and allowed the film to rely mainly on the story and the performances. That is not to say it is not visually impressive, and there are some brilliant snappy edits which help to hold your attention, but compared to many films the whole thing works in a beautiful balance which doesn't detract from the story. The other thing which really worked well for me was the soundtrack which relied heavily on the swing sounds with pieces which included Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea" and Sinatra singing "This Town". For me the whole image of these songs and singers fitted the image of con men but then I do enjoy this style of music.


                  > Film Summary

                  Simply I watched this film purely for another top quality Nicolas Cage performance, but was treated to what is probably one of the most entertaining movies I have watched in a long-long time. The whole mix of drama, humour, action, combined with some brilliant performances and a plot line which is a refreshing change from the norm makes this not only an exceptionally enjoyable viewing experience but one which I will happily return to again and again. If you enjoy films in the same manner as "Ocean's Eleven" then you are more than likely going to enjoy this, although this is definitely not as glitzy as "Ocean's Eleven".


                  > DVD Features

                  Audio Commentary - The audio commentary is an edited mix of director Ridley Scott and writers Nicholas & Ted Griffin giving their own experiences of the film. The balance between the three works brilliantly with Scott focussing on issues with the actual filming, small budget and choice of cast, whilst the Griffin brother's discuss adapting the book into the screen play. One of the best things for me as whilst the commentary comes across as being reasonably light hearted it isn't full of just general chatter, with the majority of the dialogue being about the film more than anything else.

                  The Making of Matchstick Men - This is basically a full length documentary which can be viewed either in three segments "Pre-Production", "Production" and "Post-Production". At over an hour long this is a remarkably informative look at what goes on behind the scenes of making this film and with it being set out into three defined areas takes you on the journey right from initial concept through to finished product. Made in the usual style on film footage, behind the scenes footage and interviews, the documentary is mainly informative and rarely falls into the trap of feeling like a piece of promotional work.

                  In addition to the audio commentary and "Making of" documentary we get the theatrical trailer which although is not a feature which I am particularly bothered about does complete the package nicely.


                  > DVD Quality

                  As you would expect from a recent film and DVD release the DVD quality is pretty faultless. The picture came across sharp with solid colours through out, although I did notice a couple of moments which appeared to be a little hazy, although I feel this maybe from the original print rather than from the transfer process. The audio was a particularly good experience with dialogue coming clearly from the front speakers and wide dispersion of all effects and music from all available channels. But for me the way the sound sort of closed in when ever Roy was suffering from his illness really helped to make you feel in the middle of what was going on.


                  > DVD Summary

                  Despite not being packed full of extra features, the couple which were included were of a very high standard, giving a vast amount of information for those who are interested on how the film was made. Whilst the picture quality has a couple of flaws it doesn't really spoil the overall viewing experience, where as the audio quality is perfect with a good balance between dialogue, music and effects but most notably it helps immerse you into the actual scenes.


                  > Price & Availability

                  www.amazon.co.uk : £4.97
                  www.play.com : £10.99 (Delivered)
                  Woolworths (in-store) :£5.00


                  > Technical Details

                  Certificate: 15 (Contains some swearing and minor violence)
                  Duration: 111 mins
                  Year of Release: 2003
                  Genre: Drama, Thriller

                  DVD Release: 2004
                  Subtitles: English, Italian
                  Audio: English , Italian
                  Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
                  Region: 2
                  Number of Discs: 1


                  Director(s): Ridley Scott
                  Writer(s): Eric Garcia (Book), Nicholas & Ted Griffin (Screenplay)

                  Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill, Sheila Kelley


                  © Christianfilm October 2007

                  NB. This review also appears at www.maximovie.co.uk

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                    25.04.2005 19:55
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                    Flim-flam man, trickster, shyster, loser...Matchstick Man. Few "professions" are so mysterious, so magnetic, so "cool". Never mind that innocent people get fleeced of their life savings- "old people, fat people, lonely people," as Nic Cage's grifter admits in this sleek sleight-of-hander. Well, never mind when it's happening on a cinema screen; in the movies, it's all about the panache, the misdirection, the ingenuity. Let's leave the consequences for real life.

                    So, in the fine tradition of "The Sting", "The Grifters" and numerous David Mamet films, Ridley Scott gives us "Matchstick Men", a fiendishly clever fraud flick. That he also finds time to give us characters we care about and a subplot with genuine emotional appeal is the neatest trick of all.

                    Meet Roy (Cage) and his partner/protege Frank (Sam Rockwell), resourceful swindlers who make several hundred here, a few thousand there. Then they hit on THE BIG ONE: a startlingly simple scam-plan to diddle import/export schmuck Frechette (Bruce McGill) out of $80,000.

                    So far, so join-the-dots, right? Sure, until you consider that Roy's an obsessive-compulsive who can't step out his own front door until he takes his medication. That he's just started seeing a new shrink (Bruce Altman) who won't even give him said medication until he spends an hour a week on the couch, confronting his phobias. And that he's just found out he has a 14-year-old daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman), born seven months after his wife walked out.

                    What follows is a film confidently balanced on the edge of spades, rarely wobbling as walks the fine line between exhilarating con artist pic and touching family drama. "Catch Me If You Can" tried it, "Matchstick Men" does it, Scott exhibiting none of Spielberg's digits-down-the-gullet schmaltz. This movie's too busy being pacy, tense, breezy, funny and downright cunning to have time for anything as ponderous as overwrought sentiment. Thank God.

                    Of course, it helps when your leads are as talented as the fresh-faced Lohman and Nic Cage, an actor who can play socially awkward, tic-ridden misfits with his eyes shut. Which, to be honest, he ALMOST does here, his twitchy-eye-and-involuntary-chimpanzee-grunts routine gamboling along the very parameter of "character acting". An inch more and it would have tumbled into the land of histrionics.

                    But back to the "pacy, breezy" bit. DoP John Mathieson's sun-kissed cinematography gives LA an irresistible glow; the soundtrack's comprised of Sinatra classics and a jaunty, sea-breeze score courtesy of Scott regular Hans Zimmer; and jump cuts and swipes give the action a jazzy backbeat, meaning these Matchstick Men dance with a snap in their fingers and a click in their heels.

                    Okay, prod too hard and this elaborate house of cards begins to spill, but by then you'll be long into the night, the cinema far behind you.

                    Not sold yet? Then you're a sucker, a fish in the barrel ready for shooting.

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                      27.01.2005 11:15
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                      Film about con men based on an Eric Garcia story

                      I didn't go to see this movie because Nicolas Cage was in it - even though I admire his acting ability a great deal. I also didn't go to this movie because Ridley Scott produced and directed it - since he's directed only one movie that I've really liked (Thelma & Louise), and one that I totally despise (Gladiator). And while watching a film about clever crooks can be fun, I could easily have gone for another film on an even more appealing subject. No, I have to confess that the reason I went to see this movie is because I am acquainted with the man who wrote the novel that this movie is based upon - Eric Garcia. I "met" Eric on a newsgroup several years ago when he was first getting started. Little did we know when his first book was published that he'd get this far, so quickly. So in truth, I went to see this movie to support a friend - not the best reason to see a film, I know - but I'm happy to say that I came out thrilled.

                      Now, I really have to be very careful about telling you anything about the plot of this film, because even the slightest slip and I'll ruin it for you all. Let's just say that if you go to see this movie, I suggest you remember what is requested of the audience at the end of every performance of the famous long-running play "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie: DON'T TELL ANYONE HOW THIS ENDS!

                      But to put it in a nutshell, Internet Movie Data Base (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0325805/) puts it best when they say: "A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the con artist's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly".

                      Nicolas Cage plays the main character of Roy Waller. Roy is agoraphobic with a compulsive disorder, which gives him a twitch, a grunt and an obsession with cleanliness. Roy is also a very good con man... or, con artist, as he prefers to be referred to. But Roy prefers the smaller, quick cons that net him the easy, if smaller amounts of money. Still, these have kept him nicely in the lifestyle to which he is obsessed, and career-wise, he seems pretty content. In any case, it seems that this crook knows his limitations, or does he? Cage does a marvelous job with this part, never once falling into clichéd mugging, while consistently keeping up the quirky neurotic behaviour. It was a real pleasure watching him on this one. So much so that some are talking "Oscar" for his performance. I think that while he might get a nomination, I don't believe the Academy will actually give it to him (if they didn't give it to him for playing twins in "Adaptation"...). Movie buffs may not be surprised if Cage goes home on Oscar night without the statue, but they'll forever remember this as Cage's finest hour, and most intelligent purchase ever (he bought the film rights before the book was published - sly dog that he is)! There were times when I was so convinced by Cage's performance that I wondered if the man had any sanity left after he finished filming this one - so realistic it truly boarders on scary (and I should know - my mother-in-law was a psychiatrist and saw her patients in her home when I was living next door).

                      Roy's protégé is Frank Mercer, played by Sam Rockwell (one actor having a great year with both this film and his staring role in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" plus parts in three other films). Frank is ambitious, energetic and greedy for a "big one". But he knows he's learning his stuff from an expert, and despite his partner's obvious drawbacks, you get the feeling that they almost need each other. I understand from Eric Garcia that this part was "underwritten" in his novel, and that Sam Rockwell and the writers brought much more to the part than Garcia had originally given him. Whatever the screenwriters did here, they did it right and Rockwell knows how to bring just enough enthusiasm to the supporting role as is needed to make the character essential to the movie, without stealing it away from the other actors. Perhaps this is also an achievement of Director Ridley Scott, in keeping this perfect balance throughout the movie.

                      And then there's Roy's teenage daughter Angela, played by the baby-faced Alison Lohman. Angela has grown up with her mother, having heard only bad things about her father all her life. But every young girl needs a daddy, and finding out that the man you thought was either dead or in jail is actually alive and has never been arrested should be enough. But as Angela starts to get more involved in her father's life, she charms him into teaching her some of his tricks. Alison Lohman fits this part like the last puzzle piece that slides smoothly into place with a confident click, and completes the whole picture. While Lohman is actually a full ten years older than the part she plays, you never once suspect this during the film. This is a rare talent, and I'm glad to see that she's taken full advantage of it here. If I were the Academy, I'd certainly make sure that she gets some kind of recognition for this show of acting excellence. And again, had the writing not been spot-on for a 14-year-old, no one would have believed she was really that young.

                      As a team, these actors work perfectly together, are totally in their elements and make this film a real joy to behold. We come away with a feeling that these actors must have enjoyed themselves a great deal while making this film. Of course, having a marvelous script and excellent direction didn't hurt, but much of the kudos must go to this talented bunch.

                      The script is another shining element in this piece. As film critic Roger Ebert aptly informs us (http://tinyurl.com/su2o), there are actually three main elements to this story. The first is Roy's neurosis and how he does or doesn't cope with it. The next is the plot of two small-time thieves falling into a big-time confidence game. And finally, there's the story of the fallen-from-grace dad who suddenly gets to know his child. As Ebert mentions, each of these elements could easily make a film all on its own - and we can easily find several examples of successful films that have concentrated on only one of these plots. But to put them all together into one cohesive story is sheer genius. My friend Eric Garcia should be very proud that he pulled all three into one novel (what he called "cross-genre" writing) so convincingly that it just begged to be made into a movie. And to top it all off, Ted Griffin (Ocean's 11) grabbed his brother Nick and together made it into the best script I've witnessed in years. The dialog is lively and realistic; the action flows seamlessly from scene to scene; there's nothing extraneous or superfluous, and; there are no unanswered questions or lose ends when the final credits start to roll. What more could you ask for?

                      Well, I guess you could ask for a really superior ending as well. And this film gives you one that comes extremely close to ruining the whole film - but it doesn't. It's actually precisely like baby bear's porridge, chair and bed that Goldilocks finds - it's Just Right. I'd say more, but that might give something away, and I'd hate to ruin it for all you who haven't seen this film yet.

                      Special Effects/Cinematography/Sound Track - I'm going to briefly talk about these together since it seems to me that they are joined at the hip in this film. This was especially evident when we were allowed to "experience" Roy's neurotic reactions as if we were inside his head, seeing the world through his eyes and hearing things through his ears. There were some excellent scenes that were totally transformed by the use of these three elements to perfection. For instance, the static situation of Roy sitting in his car and waiting became totally alive with various camera angles, exaggerated background sounds and accompanying music - you could almost smell the smoke in the car, feel the slight breeze coming in from the window and taste the anxiety of the character. Brilliant! (However, anyone who really and truly hates Frank Sinatra with a passion might not agree with me on this one.)

                      Direction
                      As I already mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of Ridley Scott, although I really loved his "Thelma & Louise". However, if he's going to make more films like this one, I may just forgive him his "Gladiator" and start being a fan after all. If you've read what I've written above carefully, you might actually think that even a lousy director could direct this film and still come up aces. That may be so, but the most important thing that a director can do is take a bunch of scenes, a bunch of people and a bunch of words and ideas and turn it into a piece of art. That is done in many ways, and one is to make the whole cast and crew into a team. When that happens, the audience can feel it, and Mr. Scott seems to have achieved this in spades here. When you watch this film, you really feel that you are watching something whole and totally complete. I know that may sound a bit strange, but that's the feeling I get here. Bravo, Mr. Scott!

                      Bottom Line:
                      What can I say? The novel my friend wrote has become a very successful film. Its every writer's dream come true, and the best conclusion to this op that I can give you is - I give this film a full five stars. Highly Recommended!

                      Thanks for reading.

                      *****
                      UPDATE: While the Oscars passed this one up completely, I'm thinking the main reason was bad timing. It was the year for Lord of the Rings, and that was that. Personally, I think that it was a total rip-off, but what's done is done, I suppose.

                      However, anyone who has read any of Eric Garcia's books will be pleased to hear that the SciFi channel in the US has decided to make a TV series out of Eric's "Rex" novels. And they're going to get Faye Dunnaway to do one of the parts! Cool, no?
                      *****

                      ~~~~~
                      Technical Stuff:
                      This movie is now available on DVD via Amazon.co.uk at the paltry price of £11.99 and on VHS for £11.69. Cheap at twice the price!

                      This movie's official web site can be found at http://matchstickmenmovie.warnerbros.com/

                      Only the soundtrack is available on Amazon.co.uk (http://tinyurl.com/sui1) for £14.99. The DVD won't be available in the US until February 24th for only$19.59. Sorry, but no date yet for the UK release of the movie.

                      But for those who want to see the original, you can buy my friend Eric Garcia's book at Amazon.co.uk (http://tinyurl.com/suih) for £12.44

                      The rest of Eric Garcia's books are a series of detective novels with a twist, and the full list of his books are available on Amazon.co.uk (http://tinyurl.com/suik). Go on and make my friend some more money!
                      ~~~~~

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                        12.07.2004 02:15
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                        Ridley Scott, director of big visual pieces such as Gladiator and Alien tries his hand at something smaller with Matchstick Men and the result is worthwhile. Nic Cage and Sam Rockwell are a pair of con artists Roy and Frank who operate a prize draw scam involving water filters. Would be winner?s hand over money and then receive no prize while the pair count their money. Roy is the mentor of the pair but unfortunately he?s an obsessive compulsive with a number of phobias. This is distracting him from his cons and making Frank nervous. The chance of a large con is on but Roy is hesitant, however the arrival of the 14-year old daughter he?s never met changes things. Soon Roy is becoming a father, overcoming phobias, taking on a very big con and generally learning to be a normal person. However keeping his daughter from the ways of the con is going to be difficult. This is a pretty jazzy film with a small amount of characters and nice amount of style. What I liked about it was the acting, every once in a while it?s good to see a film with story and completely devoid of special effects. Nic Cage departs from his action hero mould and returns to Leaving Las Vegas territory with a very good performance as Frank. He pulls off a lot of amusing stuff but never makes Frank a comedian, this is a manic cage in a character that restrains him from going completely over the top. Sam Rockwell is a good foil and is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Once again he gives the audience a character with a good deal of energy and humour. My only disappointment was that he wasn?t in the movie as much as I?d have liked. Newcomer Alison Lohan convinces incredibly as a 14-year old even though she?s actually in her twenties. The moments between her character Angela and Roy are very true and not really
                        overly sentimental. Bruce McGill also does a nice job as the potential victim of a large con. With no real epic story to contend with, Ridley Scott still gives Matchstick Men a lot of style. The look of the film is pretty distinct and original. It blends some sixties style with modern day to great effect. Where the film really comes together is in the editing as we?re treated to jazzy transitions and jump cuts to highlight the sporadic nature of the characters. Hans Zimmer also contributes a nice up-tempo score while the soundtrack is full of great old numbers from the likes of Andy Williams. I wouldn?t say Matchstick Men changed my life, it didn?t blow me away but it certainly told it?s story very well and for that reason alone, it?s well worth a look.

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                          06.11.2003 18:32
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                          ~ ~ Some of you might recall the old Robert Redford/ Paul Newman movie called “The Sting” (1973) with the absolutely marvellous soundtrack from Scott Joplin. It told the story of two “grifters” (con-artists) who pulled of a major horseracing coup, (or sting!) and the movie quite rightly cleaned up at the Oscar Awards in 1974. This movie, “Matchstick Men” (2003) is the first “con-artist” movie since then that has even come close to emulating the success of The Sting. Although there was a valiant attempt in the 1992 movie, “Glengarry Glen Ross”, starring Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino as two less than ethical real estate salesmen. ~ ~ Matchstick Men stars Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell as two fairly successful but small time conmen. Cage plays the part of Roy, the senior partner in the relationship, who is teaching the younger Frank (Rockwell) the ins and outs of swindling folks out of their hard-earned (or even NOT hard-earned) cash. Roy is VERY good at what he does, but the lifestyle and baggage from his past has left him quite literally a nervous wreck, with more complexes and phobias than your average patient in the local nuthouse. He has a phobia about cleanliness, and wont let anyone walk on the carpet in his apartment without first removing their shoes. His windows always have to be sparkling, and whereas most of us polish our furniture every now and again, Roy is totally obsessed, and even polishes the underneath of his occasional tables! His phobias even stretch as far as his eating habits, and he has a freezer full of tuna fish. He can’t go in or out a door without first opening and closing it three times. In total contrast to his cleanliness phobia, he is also a chain smoker, who would have a fag in his mouth while he was sleeping if he thought he could get away with it. Frankly, the guy is so screwed up that he shouldn’t be allowed around normal peopl
                          e, but his problems are kept fairly manageable by the use of very strong sedatives, that allows him to function on a day-to-day basis. ~ ~ His partner in crime Frank is a amiable and ambitious young criminal, who is quite prepared to pander to all of Roy’s idiosyncrasies, as he realises that the older man is simply superb at what he does, and has a lot to teach him. At the beginning of the movie we see the two of them pulling off a clever small con on an unsuspecting married couple, involving a “free” prize of a new car. So long as they are prepared to part with all of the money in their bank account first, off course! Roy and Frank are planning a major “sting” involving a less than honest businessman that will nett them a substantial amount of cash, but a problem arises when Roy accidentally flushes his medication down the waste disposal in the sink during one of his cleaning frenzies. He immediately becomes a complete and utter loony, and Frank packs him off to seek help from a psychiatrist, Dr. Klein, who attempts to make Roy come to terms with some of his problems. We learn that he was once married, and has a 14-year-old daughter that he has never met. ~ ~ Dr. Klein persuades Roy to try and re-establish contact with his family again, and very soon his long-lost daughter Angela (Alison Lohman) has arrived on the scene. She is a typical teenager, who loves fast food, ten-pin bowling, and TV, and has a smart attitude to go with it. Very soon she has practically moved in with Roy, and the movie takes off on a slight tangent, as it explores (touchingly) the developing relationship between this somewhat sad and lonely middle-aged man and his young daughter. She soon discovers what Roy does to earn his shillings, and pesters the life out of him to “teach me something” about the art of conning people. Eventually Roy reluctantly agrees, and takes her out with him on a small con involving
                          a lottery ticket. Angela takes to the art like a duck to water, and Roy is actually surprised at just how much he enjoys working with his daughter. Angela then becomes more and more precious to Roy, and more and more involved in his illegal activities. ~ ~ That’s as much as I’m prepared to tell you about the plot in this movie, as to explain it any further would totally destroy your enjoyment of the film. Suffice to say that the yarn has a “sting” in the tail. (sorry about the poor pun, I couldn’t resist it!) The twist towards the end of the movie is completely unexpected, and you’re a brighter cookie than me if you manage to see it coming. Not since the original movie “The Sting” have I been so completely taken in by a storyline in a film. ~ ~ I enjoyed this movie tremendously, at all sorts of different levels. For a start, I’ve always been fascinated by “con-artists”. I worked for years in sales, and in a way, this is “conning” on a slighter lesser scale. (Also, it’s not illegal!) The way these ‘grifters’ go about weaving their tangled webs of lies and deceit, and the way in which they play on the greed and vulnerability of ordinary people, is totally fascinating. Nicolas Cage is his usual magnetic self, and brings the role of Roy to life in a way I don’t think many modern-day actors could. His acting here reminds me of the part he played in “Leaving Las Vegas”, where he played to absolute perfection the part of a hopeless alcoholic. It would have been very easy for the part of Roy to have turned into something farcical and completely unbelievable. But such is the talent of Cage, he actually BECOMES the character he is portraying, and has you believing it too. Cage now seems to have rid himself of the “action man” image he was in danger of being typecast in during his earlier days as an
                          actor, in movies like “The Rock” and “Con Air”. But the truth is he is simply so talented I doubt if there is any part he couldn’t play well if he set his mind on it. ~ ~ The story is both a comedy and a thriller at the same time, a difficult combination to achieve successfully. It’s directed by Ridley Scott, who is better known for his action movies, such as “Black Hawk Down”, the rip-roaring war story set in modern day Somalia. Matchstick Men is a good addition to his CV as a Director, and proves he is capable of directing a movie with subtlety and style, as well as with ball-clutching tension. ~ ~ Alison Lohman was terrific as Roy’s 14-year-old daughter Angela. It’s hard to credit that she is actually 22-years of age, and she captures the emotions and angst of a fragile 14-year-old girl from a dysfunctional family background to total perfection. And Sam Rockwell is great as Frank, Roy’s cocky, self-assured partner in crime. ~ ~ I notice that this superb movie has just recently been dropped from the listings in the local cinemas, and will no doubt soon be making its appearance in VHS and DVD format in the local video stores. Grab it if you get the chance! It comes with the mad cabbies highest possible recommendation, and I rate it as one of the best movies of the year. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright KenJ November 2003 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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                            23.10.2003 22:12
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                            Some of you may know that I have a real thing for Nicolas Cage, in fact it is probably more than a 'thing', and I admit to dreaming about the day he arrives on my doorstep to take me away. Hubby says this will never happen...never say never is what I say!!! Deluded? Probably, but it is nice to dream! Anyway, whenever he releases a new film film, no matter what the critics think of it, I have to see it, and then probably own the DVD, and 'Matchstick Men' was no exception, although I was more excited about seeing this than I was about seeing 'Adaptation', as it was a little bit more mainstream, and less of a mind boggler! Cage is a Roy, a con man (although I am sure he would object to this, and prefer to be called a con artist) and he is struggling to manage day to day life as he battles against severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, agraphobia and neurosis. His tics and stutters are apparent from the first scene, although they vary in severity without much explanation why, which at times was a little frustrating. He works alongside the smooth talking Frank played by the underrated Sam Rockwell, who is slowly forging his way into many people's top actor lists. Together they set up their victims with elaborate cons, and disappear with the money. They are always looking for the 'big score', the job that will set them up for life, but half of the time Roy disappears for days at a time leaving Frank to manage alone, although he seems more concerned than annoyed about the absences. Some of their cons are so blatant, I felt secretly pleased that these greedy people were taken for a ride, as their common sense was overruled by their sheer material desire. Roy's condition is worsened by the regrets and recriminations that he tortures himself with everyday, mainly that he was a bad husband, and left his wife when she was pregnant, never knowing anything about his child, and never having attempted to find out anything s
                            ince. Roy decides that he needs to get his life in order and goes to see a pyschiatrist, Dr Klein (Bruce Altman), who agrees to contact his ex wife, and to Roy's delight and also despair, he receives the news that he is a father to a teenage daughter. Klein also prescribes some new medication for Roy, which leads to him forming another dependance, and in one scene, he accidentally knocks his bottle of tablets down the sink, and when he cannot get anymore, he goes to a local pharmacist, and plays out one of the most manic, but hilarious scenes in the whole film, and he realises that the very things he depends on are not what they seem to be. His long lost daughter Angela, played by Alison Lohman is a fascinating character. At first Roy tries to hide what he does for a living, until she finds a stash of money in his house, and he admits what he does, although he tries to defend himself by claiming he does not take people's money, they give it to him, which technically we cannot argue with. After this revelation, Angela becomes intrigued in her father's activities and wants to become more involved. Roy allows her to play out a con, but then makes her give the money back. She looks like she could be the person to get Roy's life on an even keel, as she seems to calm him , and the fact that he has a person depending on him emotionally seems to give Roy a new perspective on life, but he faces the dilemma of whether to try and forge a bond by allowing Angela to become involved in his world, or by making the break and seeing if he can survive. The two men finally think they have hit the big time, when they meet Frechette (Bruce McGill), an arrogant businessman, who wants the pair to launder money for him. The underestimate him, and think that they can pull off the biggest con of their career, leaving Frechette high and dry, with no way of complaining to the police, as what he was asking them to do is illegal. It is the simple case of one per
                            son's greed outweighing another persons, but the con goes wrong with tragic consequences, leaving Roy to completely readdress his life, his beliefs and the people he thought he could depend on. I could compare this film to many others, as it takes the themes of some successful films and puts them all together to give a polished final product, which deals with three different stories which are all linked by the people involved, and normally I am not a fan of con men films, as I really struggle to relate to them, and the characters are not developed enough to support a decent plotline, but here the cons are secondary to the lives of the people involved, and that is what makes this work. I think Ridley Scott is a truly brilliant director, and here he shows just why. It would have been so easy to trun this film into a complete mess of mixed up camera shots, and characters you couldn't make a bond with, but he made me feel sorry for a man who had shown little sympathy for his victims, and the dream like sequences and camera shots really added to quality and the intrigue of the film. He could have made the ending of the film too sentimental, but he did not, and the balance is just perfect. Cage is a complete triumph in this role, and that was endorsed by the people we went to see the film with too, so I am satisfied that you are not getting too biased a view from me. He plays the role with compassion, humour, and he puts his own unique stamp on the character. He is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, and I know many find his style over the top, but in this film he really reaches out to his audience in the way only he can. Rockwell shows that he can be up there with the big names and not look out of his depth, but I am always distracted by how much he looks like the American country singer Dwight Yoakham, and reading some other media reviews, I find I am not alone in this thought! Relative newcomeer Alison Loham comes close to out
                            shining the lead characters with her mature and extremely watchable performance. Her visual presence portrays as much emotion as her words do, and for me that is the sign of a star, especially as she makes it look as if she is not even trying. The soundtrack is by Hans Zimmer, but unlike his previous efforts it really paled into the background, and was lost amongst the storyline and the performances. The brothers, Ted and Nick Griffin have adapted the screenplay from the novel by Eric Garcia, which is now top of my 'to buy' list, and they have not diluted the impact of the characters, and shown them truly warts and all, and I am sure there are many actors out there who are wishing that they had been given the chance to play the character of Roy. I cannot recommend this film highly enough, all of the cast and production crew play important parts, and the result is this highly enjoyable and memorable film, which even if Nicolas Cage was not in it, I would want as part of my collection, and I expect to see this film, it's cast or some of the production crew in the running for the Oscars at the turn of the year. It is really that good, and it is my vote for film of 2003 so far.

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                              09.10.2003 08:14
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                              I have to admit that I went to see this movie as I was running late and missed the start of my original choice. I have never been so glad to be late as this is an excellent film. Reading the magazine before I went into the film it mentioned Nicholas Cage was playing a con-man (apparently they are called matchstick men in America) who has an obsession with cleanliness and suffers from nervous ticks! Not exactly an enthralling write up but I gave it a chance. Cage plays Roy Waller the older hand showing his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell) the ropes. Frank is competent but needs Roy to add authenticity to his act. They concentrate on small time cons which keep a steady money flow but Frank is desperate for Roy to do one last big job before he finishes being a matchstick man. Initially I thought that the story was purely going to be about character development. Little happened of note in the opening section of the film. Roy and Frank played a small con, Roy starts to panic as his allergies start to play up and the rest of the opening half-hour or so deals with his cleanliness obsession and how he deals with his allergies through medication. Disaster strikes when Roy loses all of his medication and his psychiatrist moves out of town. Unable to achieve more medication through the usual means (his medication not being entirely legitimate) Frank suggests that Roy visits a psychiatrist he knows, Dr Klein played by Bruce Altman. This is where the main part of the film begins. In his opening session we discover that Roy split from his ex-wife when she was a few months pregnant. Having had no contact in the 14 years since he has no idea of even the sex of the child. Roy persuades the shrink to contact his wife and arrange for a meeting with the child if possible. His 14 year old daughter Angela (Alison Lohman) meets him and they begin to develop a relationship. Roy?s world is turned upside down and its quite interesting and humorous to see how he co
                              pes with this. As well as dealing with this Roy discovers that Frank has set up the big time deal. The mark or victim is Chuck Frechette (Bruce McGill) a business man who appears gullible and has the kind of cash available that could make Roy give up on the game. After reeling in Frechette will Roy be able to make the final sting with his world being turned upside down? Nicholas Cage is excellent in this film. He has never convinced me in the action roles in "Face Off" or "The Rock" and I found Roy Waller to be the perfect character for him. Although, I have to admit the facial ticks were irritating to begin with, it seemed like an excuse for Cage to show how well he could act. However I quickly got used to that and became submerged in Roy?s world. It became quite funny watching him clean the house from top to bottom for no reason and you began to feel for his character. Alison Lohman really steals the show. Despite being 23 she is totally convincing as a 14 year old. She is a typical bratty teenager but has an overwhelming cute loveable side with the kind of smile you would die for. Again, you really did feel for Roy as he goes through every conceivable emotion from not knowing if he had a child to meeting and getting to know her. As they grow to know each other in front of you, you feel that you know what they are going through as you witness it all. It really is a film of two halves whilst we have this relationship going on we also see the business arrangements between Roy and Frank. As the film progresses Frank also shows a likeable side as a loveable rogue. Sam Rockwell plays the part with enough confidence to be a convincing con-man but he isn?t overly smug or sickly. You will him to succeed and this is also a strength of the film, you actually care what happens to the main characters. I won't say too much about the plot as there are a few twists and I don?t want to risk gi
                              ving any of them away. I will just say that you have to re-evaluate the whole film and whilst it does not have the immediate feeling of I want to see that again that "the Sixth Sense" or "The Usual Suspects" had I would watch it again. I would just like to comment on the very end of the film which I was slightly let down by. Where for one minute I was really surprised it was suddenly taken away with a feeling of having seen it before, then it got a bit silly. Still not enough to ruin the movie but disappointing all the same. Having said that I think that this is one of the best films I have seen this year and would highly recommend it to anyone. It lasts around two hours and held my attention for the whole time as there is little in the way of unnecessary scenes. The official site, with trailer is at http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/matchstick_men/

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