7.3/10
122,953
354 user 153 critic

Matchstick Men (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 12 September 2003 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,974 ( 45)
5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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 Stoney Westmoreland ... Man in Line
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The airport scenes, set at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), were actually filmed in the main entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center, a mile south of Disneyland. Due to changed security measures in the nation's airports, filming rights have been severely restricted on airport property. See more »

Goofs

When Roy and Angela are riding in the car towards Angela's home, the car is moving and you can see motion in the drivers side mirror but the trees in the passengers side mirror are motionless. 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

Featured in The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Sustained my interest throughout
8 February 2006 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

Roy (Nicolas Cage) has some problems. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and gets totally hysterical when people leave doors open, don't take off their shoes, get mud on his carpet, etc. He takes pills for the many problems, but he accidentally knocked them down the garbage disposal and is a big frantic mess now, complete with nervous ticks of the face and exclamations of "mmm..." at the end of his sentences.

That's a problem that severely interferes with his job as a con artist. He's not a con man, he's not a rip-off man, he's a con artist, with added emphasis on the "artist" part. He views his job as a beauty, a sort of majestic way of expressing himself, but not really, that's a lie, it's just something that makes him sleep better at night.

He hates his job because it makes him feel dirty. It's not fun ripping off old people or fat people, but he is a high school drop out, how else can he get a decent paying job?

His partner, Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell), is a bit more at ease than Roy. He doesn't seem to mind his job all that much. Roy, on the other hand, is turning into a complete nut, and after going to a recommended psychiatrist, he musters up the courage to confront his 14-year-old daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman), who is eager to escape her controlling mother and check out her long-lost big pop.

The film has a lot of different stories going on -- the worry-wart who learns to put aside his nervous ticks, the long-lost father who reunites with his daughter, and the con artist who tries to give it up for a normal life. They all succeed as a story, but the film's only flaw is its wandering, which goes on far too long.

Who cares (and I mean that as a statement, not a question). The film is one of the great entertainments of the year. It has twists, turns, and a big streak of enjoyability running through it.

Nicolas Cage is on a winning streak. First 2002's Oscar-winning "Adaptation," now this (rumored to be entered into the Oscar race for 2004). Who would'a thunk it?

Sam Rockwell ("Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") continues to impress, while Alison Lohman (a 20-something actress playing a teenager) shines and convincingly portrays exactly what the character needs.

Ridley Scott ("Alien"), the infamous British director, uses some great camera techniques here -- filmed in a blue shade with lots of different camera flashes, he subtly forces the audience into Roy's head, especially during sequences when Roy is having little breakdowns and the people and objects around him start moving at warp-speed.

I'll admit that I'm a big fan of con man movies because I find them amusing. But "Matchstick Men" is not really a con man movie -- it's a movie about a con man who has to cope with his job and private life. And a movie about a con man who finds he has a daughter. And a con man who gets conned. It's all enjoyable, and though the film is long, I never felt very bored by it at all -- it sustained my interest throughout its running time. That's rarer and rarer nowadays.


43 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 354 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Matchstick Men See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,087,307, 14 September 2003

Gross USA:

$36,906,460

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$65,565,672
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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed