Matchstick Men (2003)


“You’re not a bad guy, you know. You’re just not a very good one.” – Roy

Number of Times Seen –  3 times (Theater in 2003, 22 Apr 2008 and 23 Dec 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A con man finds out that he has a young 14 year old daughter who moves in with him ad wishes to learn the trick of the trade.

My Take on it – I have always enjoyed films in the genre of con men and this film was so much fun to watch when I saw it for the first time in the theater when it came out.

The premise is an intriguing one that unfortunately doesn’t work as well as one might hope.

They have a nice cast here with Nicholas Cage, Alison Lohman and Sam Rockwell, but none of them find a way to transcend their characters.

The budding chemistry between Cage and Lohman is the basis for the story and they story never manages to make us care more about that relationship because the chemistry is so off the entire time despite it being suppose to grow over time.

Rockwell is always fun t watch on film and he is able to use his rapid fire way of delivering his dialogue here, but his character doesn’t shine enough here.

This is a kind of film that is more disappointing to watch on multiple views because despite the fact that you get to look for clues regarding the direction of the plot, there is no longer any tension or suspense once you know the gimmick of it all.

Bottom Line – Intriguing idea that doesn’t work well enough. The cast is fine and both Cage and Lohman are ok, but their chemistry is a bit off the whole way through and doesn’t get better despite their characters getting closer. Rockwell is also fine here in a supporting role and his rapid way of delivering lines helps a bit. This is a film that is actually hurt by multiple watches because once you know the gimmick, it’s fun to look for clues, but it makes things much less suspenseful and enjoyable to watch unfold.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Alison Lohman went to the audition dressed and acted like a 14-year-old girl. Ridley Scott only realized her real age when she told him. She was 23 at the time. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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