Matchstick Men (2003) – Originally written September 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Truth be told, I think I probably summed up this film with my title. “Matchstick Men” is at times powerful, at times moving, yet at times slow and tedious. Nicolas Cage is occasionally stunning as Roy Waller, a conman with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but at times his performance is similar to the disorder itself and is incredibly inconsistent. Cage seems to switch from stunning acting one moment, to ridiculously wooden the next. His character provides the occasional laugh, but sadly too many laughs are provided by his closing of doors. When studying Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an actor should watch “As Good As It Gets” and witness Jack Nicholson’s performance to view how to treat it properly. Sadly Cage obviously didn’t.
Other than Cage, the acting is relatively upto scratch but nothing special. Sam Rockwell as Frank Mercer is playing what seems like exactly the same character as he always plays. I wouldn’t say Rockwell gets a bit type cast, simply as he isn’t, but in everything I’ve seen him in, he’s got different characters and mingled them to make the same person.
Irrelevant of acting capabilities, what else can be said about this film? The plot is up to scratch, if somewhat predictable at times (although one twist at the end is clever, if obvious looking back at it), the directing is as you’d expect for Ridley Scott & the cinematography is at times stunning. Other than this, there is relatively little to say. This film is by no means the best film of the year, but it is by no means the worst. It’s good to watch if nothing else is available and you fancy to be moved (and slightly depressed perhaps), but ultimately, don’t expect anything special.