Matchstick Men is a movie that’s going to charm the fuck out of you, even if you don’t like crime comedies. It’s just so damn well crafted that you won’t be able to resist its spells. It’s not just a heist or a conman movie but also a captivating character study and a hilarious comedy. Hilarious comedy that’s driven by excellent performances by Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell but more about that later. So, we will be following Roy, a troubled con artist who’s about to pull the biggest con of his life.
I didn’t believe that Ridley Scott, the man behind some of my favorite science fiction movies, could make such a great comedy. Full of experience and knowledge, he avoided all the classical mistakes that happen in these movies. The storytelling was spot on along with very deliberate pacing. I think that the change in scale made a real difference for him as this is probably the “smallest” movie he shot since Thelma & Louise.
Matchstick Man elegantly dances between thriller, comedy and drama genres, never settling and keeping things in motion ’till the end. With obligatory twists and turns, of course. This is, above all, an intelligent and well-crafted movie. A movie that I think you will regardless of your taste. It’s already a cult classic. And one of the main reasons for that is Nicolas Cage’s stellar performance. He was fucking Roy, transforming into this hapless and charming individual troubled by various problems. But he didn’t let them pull him down. No sir, he persevered in the world of crime despite his shortcomings!
Meet Roy Waller, a simple man with a lot of personal issues. He has a severe case of Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder but he’s still out there, closing leads. He and his partner in business are trying to sell “water filtration systems” using Glengarry Glen Ross techniques. However, the business has been slow recently. This isn’t a problem since Roy has bigger plans.
Matchstick Men is a big movie and this means that all the technical details are amazing. Especially production values were stellar. I also shouldn’t forget to mention that it’s based on Eric Garcia’s 2002 novel of the same name. This means there will be all these little details that you probably won’t spot in the first viewing. They make the scenes feel much more immersive and livelier. All of this contributes to the huge replay value this movie has.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Eric Garcia, Nicholas Griffin, Ted Griffin
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill
Fun Facts: Alison Lohman went to the audition dressed and acted like a 14-year-old girl. Ridley Scott only realized her real age when she told him. She was 22 at the time.