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Matchstick Men (2003)

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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.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Eric Garcia (book), Nicholas Griffin (screenplay) (as Nick Griffin) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,813 ( 1,266)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Roy Waller
Sam Rockwell ... Frank Mercer
Alison Lohman ... Angela
Bruce Altman ... Dr. Klein
Bruce McGill ... Chuck Frechette
Jenny O'Hara ... Mrs. Schaffer
Steve Eastin ... Mr. Schaffer
Beth Grant ... Laundry Lady
Sheila Kelley ... Kathy
Fran Kranz ... Slacker Boyfriend
Tim Kelleher ... Bishop
Nigel Gibbs ... Holt
Bill Saito Bill Saito ... Pharmacist #1
Tim Maculan ... Pharmacist #2
Stoney Westmoreland ... Man in Line
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los tramposos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,087,307, 14 September 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$36,906,460

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,659,212
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Mercer was named for Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mercer. Roy Waller is seen playing records by the two. See more »

Goofs

When Roy and Frank return to the house and find that Angela is missing, Roy is caught by Frank walking on his own carpet with his shoes on. The sound of him turning on the carpet is the sound of a wood floor not carpet. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Brickleberry: Baby Daddy (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Charmaine
Written by Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee
Performed by Mantovani & His Orchestra
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nic Cage's greatest acting
13 December 2009 | by nixskitsSee 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.


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