Matchstick Men

Matchstick Men
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Matchstick Men
États-Unis, 2003
De Ridley Scott
Scénario : Ted Griffin, Nicholas Roeg
Avec : Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell
Durée : 1h56
Sortie : 01/01/2003
Note FilmDeCulte : ***---

Two con men are onto a big hit. But one day, the illegitimate daughter of one of them suddenly shows up and disrupts their lives.


On the surface, everything is neat. Everything is in its place. The swimming pool is shining blue, the veranda squeaky clean and the record player let’s a few "easy-listening" tunes fill the air. And then there’s Roy (Nicolas Cage). Roy with his numerous disorders, Roy who’s trying to keep track of everything, Roy who wants to master everything in his world. What happens then, when the doctors won’t give out the pills Roy wants, what happens with Frank (Sam Rockwell), Roy’s show-offy partner in crime, and what happens when Angela suddenly bursts into Roy’s life? Everything goes wrong and its time for Roy to try and reconcile the two men living inside him: the adventurous con man and the meticulous housewife. Two sides of the same coin who endanger the scams Roy and Frank are trying to pull off. It’s in these moments that the movie really takes off. When the characters get off on a ledge they never thought they’d come close to. And when the movie gets into more safer territory, that’s when it becomes slightly dull and uninteresting.


After a string of expensive and spectacular pictures (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down...) Ridley Scott tries himself out with a genre he never did before: comedy. And his work here is marvellous. John Mathieson’s photography is suberb and the soundtrack bounces around joyfully. Roy is one of those characters at odds with the establishment that Scott seems to like so much. Far away from oiled-up bodybuilders and muscled GI’s, Matchstick Men is a shrine to anti-heroes. The movie’s tone oscillates between laughs and more intimate, melodramatic moments and finds its strength in the in-between. Nicolas Cage’s performance is quite unnerving but it’s compensated by Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. Rockwell is once again astounding as Roy’s partner Frank. He just oozes charisma and seems destined to a glorious career. Lohman portrays Roy’s daughter with just the right mix of spontaneity and depth. These two performances are worth the admission price alone. The movie in itself, though good, is nevertheless slightly off-balance: very touching but lacking a certain panache.

par Nicolas Bardot

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