Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
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
When Roy is telling Angela he doesn't want her around, she unwraps the puppy angel ashtray and reaches into the car. But when she sets it on the dashboard the ashtray is still wrapped, Roy then picks it up and unwraps it again. See more »
Anyone who thinks director Ridley Scott doesn't have a gentler side (after all, GLADIATOR, HANNIBAL, and BLACK HAWK DOWN are not exactly 'touchy-feely' movies) may be in for a surprise with his latest, MATCHSTICK MEN. The story of extremely neurotic but brilliant con man Nicolas Cage ("I'm not a criminal," he explains to his shrink, "Criminals hurt people; I don't..."), discovering a daughter he never knew he had (Alison Lohman, of WHITE OLEANDER), on the eve of a big 'Sting', offers as much emphasis on his acceptance of his new parental responsibilities as on the caper he and his partner (the always watchable Sam Rockwell) are pulling off. Cage plays the role brilliantly, making his quirky character sympathetic, and Scott proves again why he is one of Hollywood's premier directors.
The success of a film like this depends on the chemistry between the leads, and Cage and Lohman are terrific together. The young actress manages to be 'sweet' without being 'innocent', and the tentative steps she and Cage take to understand each other are both believable, and touching. In one scene, he attempts to prove to her that he can cook by preparing a spaghetti dinner...after one bite, the scene shifts to the arrival of the Domino's delivery boy!
Ultimately, however, MATCHSTICK MEN is a tale of 'The Con', and Cage and Rockwell's 'Sting' against 'fat cat' Bruce McGill, while appearing deceptively simple, has a series of twists and turns, leading to a climax that is both stunning and unexpected. This is the kind of movie that will have you putting pieces together, LONG after it ends.
It is an intriguing and rewarding film, and shouldn't be missed!
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