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.
In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.
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
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.
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