Projections - Movie Reviews

Matchstick Men

Matchstick Men

In what can be called a rare shining star in a sky of blackness, Matchstick Men shines bright compared to the rest of this summers releases.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce Altman and Bruce McGill, this wonderful film brings back memories of other great films like The Sting and The Grifters while clearly cutting new ground for this type of film.

The story revolves around Cage's character, Roy Waller, an obsessive/compulsive sufferer who is one of the best operating con artists of today.  When properly medicated, Roy can manage to pull off some amazing scams with the help of his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell).  The most visible quirks of Frank's illness are the closing or opening of doors (three times), forcing people to take off their shoes in his house and a very nasty twitch of his neck.

All of these behaviors and more show when Frank's medication runs out and his doctor disappears for unexplained reasons.  Enter Dr. Klein (Bruce Altman), a psychiatrist who believes to solve Roy's problems will take more than medicating him.  During the doctor's sessions he determines Roy needs to meet his never seen before daughter as part of his recovery.  The daughter Angela (Alison Lohman) is anxious to meet him, but his ex-wife is not in the picture and Roy is afraid to even call her.

The timing of trying to face his ex-wife and new daughter cause a collision of his profession and his personal life.  Soon he meets his daughter and avoids any contact with his ex-wife.

What really is happening here is a film within a film, a classic sting and a film of personal growth and redemption.  Both plot lines are sophisticated and compelling enough for all to follow and relish.

Seeing Roy and his daughter become a central focus of the film for a time is precious as the two get to know each other and deal with the past, present and future.  The chemistry is absolutely perfect between these two!  Seeing these characters realize that they each complete a part of the other while Roy discovers all he has missed when his wife left 14 years earlier.

For director Ridley Scott, this is a solid hit in his first attempt to deliver a light and entertaining film by comparison to his other films like Alien, Gladiator and Blade Runner.  It is good to see a director of this class get behind such a touching and yet comedic film.

The chemistry between Cage and Rockwell has an electric feel while the character Rockwell delivers is coy, cynical and yet you can not help but like him.  Lohman shows here her talent is real and that White Oleander was not smoke and mirrors or a clever director or editor.

Be prepared to be amused, experience edge of your seat suspense and have an amazingly good time with Matchstick Men.  This is truly in a league of its own this summer.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Howard
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
Matchstick Men
B+
B
B+
B
B+
B+
 
B+
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