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Matchstick Men (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  12 September 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 102,114 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 332 user | 170 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.



(book), (screenplay) (as Nick Griffin) , 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Schaffer
Mr. Schaffer
Laundry Lady
Slacker Boyfriend
Tim Kelleher ...
Pharmacist #1
Pharmacist #2
Stoney Westmoreland ...
Man in Line


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. Roy's private life, however, is not so successful. An obsessive-compulsive agoraphobe 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... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


lie cheat steal rinse repeat

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tricks  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,087,307 (USA) (12 September 2003)


$54,290 (Hong Kong) (2 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Beth Grant and Fran Kranz previously appeared in Donnie Darko (2001). They don't share scenes in any of those movies. See more »


Roy Waller purchases Tareyton cigarettes, and is seen with packs of Tareyton, but smokes Kool cigarettes throughout the movie. The name can be seen on the cigarettes, and the telltale Kool gold stripe is seen on all his smokes. The ashtray in Roy's car in one fast cut shot is also full of Kool butts. See more »


[first lines]
Roy: Uno, due, tre.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, letters such as "M" and "W" are separated lines (presumably matchsticks), much like the type in the main title. See more »


Referenced in Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Episode #13.143 (2006) See more »


More Than This
Written by Bryan Ferry
Performed by Roxy Music
Courtesy of Virgin Records
Under license from EMI Film & TV Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Nic Cage's greatest acting
13 December 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I know he won an Oscar for another film (don't get me started on that!), but this performance is really the one I regard as his crowning achievement. He's so convincing as a man who's totally out of control even when he appears to be in control that it's like a spinning top which doesn't really look like it's moving fast at all.

Sam Rockwell and Cage are partners, if you can call Cage's tic laden role a man who ever really connects with anybody at all. They con for a living and are quite accomplished at the game. So when his new challenge, a teenage daughter he had no contact with up till now, enters and shakes up his OCD world, this walking, talking repetitive routine he calls life gets flipped over into something resembling a normal existence.

The great Bruce McGill appears as someone you don't want to cross, unless it's out of his way to avoid the inevitable trouble. He fakes humbleness and charisma perfectly until the cobra he really is gets uncoiled and strikes.

This is an odd choice for Ridley Scott to direct. I'm glad he made it, as this film is as great socio-comedically as "Blade Runner" was poignantly techno-emotional. "Matchstick Men" gets under your skin, in funny and tragic ways, usually simultaneously. There really are men out there like Cage's Roy, as disturbing as that might be. Here Cage gets to be a three dimensional person and not just the human function of a lame action formula.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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the main con is so bad... skypawel
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predictable after 20 minutes. uludag
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