You'll have to go a long
way to find two actors who specialize in characters having various
psychoses, tics, and other idiosyncrasies than Nicholas Cage and Sam
Rockwell. Cage has made a career of protraying nutty characters from
Moonstruck to Leaving Las Vegas to Adaptation.
been around as long but he is quickly making his mark by playing
characters in movies like Confessions
of a Dangerous Mind and Galaxy
Quest. The roles in the new movie, Matchstick Men, were made for these
Cage and Rockwell play two Con-men who make a good living through
small-time Cons. But Cage is tired of it and besides he is
suffering from symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, agorophobia
and Tourette syndrome. He accidently drops his Meds into the garbage
disposal and is forced to see a psychiatrist (Bruce Altman) so he can
get a new prescription. Added to this chaos is a 14 year old daughter
(Alison Lohman) that Cage didn't know he had. Buoyed by his new
Meds and new daughter, Cage embarks on one last Con with
Rockwell. They plan to fleece a local rich guy (Bruce McGill)
while Cage teaches Lohman how to Con. Needless to say, in this
kind of movie, nothing goes according to plan.
I won't give anything more away about the plot but Matchstick Men follows in the footsteps of The Sting and The Usual Suspects. In other words, nothing is as it seems and everything will be turned on its head by the ending. Matchstick Men isn't quite as good as those classic films but it is good. The cast is great. No one can do "crazy" better than Nicholas Cage and he can really go crazy with this role. He makes his character seem real despite all the weird tics. Rockwell is entertaining but his character is never really fleshed out. It would have been a more balanced film if his character had been at least 2 dimensional. Cage's relationship with his daughter, played by Lohman, is much better. She is great. Lohman is 24 years old but has played girls ten years younger than herself in her last two films, this one and White Oleander. McGill and Altman are good too. They are classic character actors. When you see them, their faces are familiar but you can't name any movies they were in.
Matchstick Men is a good movie but it tries to do too much. It's supposed to be about Cage and Rockwell, Cage and Lohman, and be a twisty Con movie all at the same time. It is very successful in creating the relationship between Cage and Lohman, and they both do a great job with their characters. But the Rockwell character is a total mystery and that takes away from the plot because you don't know why he does what he does. However, the plot twists are entertaining and not completely predictable. And the performances make Matchstick Men well worth seeing.