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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Matchstick Men (2003)



Reviews and Comments

Con games are popular subjects in movies, perhaps because they provide so much potential to screenwriters for twists and cunning. Matchstick Men is an accomplished if not wholly original con game flick, but what sets it apart from the crowd is the wonderful central character, a neurotic, phobic con man whose assorted psychological ailments are occasionally problematic to him on the job. Nicolas Cage turns in yet another outstanding performance, but the real surprise is Alison Lohman, who plays Cage's estranged daughter. Movie kids and teenagers have a tendency to act more mature than they are, and the exceptions tend to be too ignorant. Lohman is neither: she embodies a 14 year old girl (not just any 14 year old girl, I might add, but a specific and nuanced unique character) so flawlessly that I was shocked to learn later she was ten years older than that during filming.

Matchstick Men so deftly balances its various themes that it may not seem as complex as it really is. Nonetheless, it is a remarkably entertaining film.