September 12, 2003
Matchstick Men is Ridley Scott's first film since his three hugely successful pictures of 2000 and 2001 (Gladiator, Hannibal, and Black Hawk Down). The story is about two con men, the obsessive-compulsive Roy (played by Nicolas Cage), and his protégé Frank (Sam Rockwell), whose latest scheme is jeopardized by the arrival of a daughter Roy never knew he had. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Eric Garcia, which itself only came out a few months ago with little fanfare.
The film's genre is somewhat questionable; Scott himself has been quoted as saying, "I saw it as a comedy. I don't mean fall-about-laughing comedy, but a lot of witty humor. But then I thought 'Thelma & Louise' was a comedy, too." It would appear, then, that while the story is dramatic, there is more than enough quirkiness to go around. The story was adapted for the screen by brothers Ted and Nick Griffin, so perhaps a valid comparison for this movie is the recent remake of Ocean's 11, which was also penned by the younger Ted.
Cage's daughter is played by Alison Lohman, most famous for her role in 2002's White Oleander, who, though 23, will play a 15-year-old here. The age difference should not be a problem for Lohman, however, as she played a similarly-aged character in White Oleander. One other note of interest - August is now shaping up to potentially be a very big month for Rockwell. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was recently scheduled for a re-release one week before this film's release on August 8th. With starring roles in two films released so close together, both with seemingly similar genres, as well as so many big names attached, perhaps Rockwell will finally gain with mainstream audiences the kind of appeal he already has with critics. (Zach Kolkin/BOP)
Comparison films for Matchstick Men
|Black Hawk Down
|Confessions of a Dangerous Mind