“Matchstick Men” Cage and Rockwell cook up interesting, complicated flick

by Matt Bower

“Matchstick Men” is a well thought out film that will keep audiences guessing.

Starring Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce McGill, Bruce Altman and directed by Ridley Scott, “Matchstick Men” does not disappoint.

Cage appears to play three roles in this film, all through his character Roy.

The first “character” that is revealed is the chain-smoking obsessive compulsive Roy. He hates the outdoors and everything indoors has to be just so.

No shoes on the carpet.

Windows must stay closed at all times.

And when opening doors, they must be opened and closed three times before finally walking through.

Roy is on medication to aid him with his problems, but when he loses it down the drain of his sink, he becomes lost and the only thing he can do is begin cleaning his house from top to bottom. At the advice of his friend Frank (Rockwell), he decides to see a psychoanalyst (Altman) in the hopes of securing more pills. Roy gains the pills from Dr. Klein and is able to get back on track with his job and second role; Roy the con artist.

Roy and his partner Frank run a small scamming business. The business generates a tidy profit for the duo as they sell water-heating devices for ten times the price with the promise of lavish prizes, such as a car or an all expenses paid vacation, to unsuspecting victims. The victims of course do not get any such prize and by the time they figure out what has happened, Roy and Frank are long gone.

The two perform their cons exceptionally well, making a few hundred dollars here and several thousand there, but an opportunity arises that could result in a much larger payoff.

Roy continues to see Dr. Klein while all this is going on because Dr. Klein will not give him the pills if he doesn’t show up for sessions.

During one of his visits, Dr. Klein explains to Roy that he has a daughter. This is not a total shock to Roy because he knew there was a possibility that he had a child, it was just never confirmed since he and his wife were divorced before the child was born.

Enter Roy’s third “character role,” the father.

Anxious to meet Angela (Lohman), the 14-year-old daughter he never knew he had, Roy seems to be in better spirits and doesn’t worry about things so much.

Angela is a good influence on Roy and both are excited about the new father-daughter relationship that is forming, but soon Angela begins to get curious about Roy’s career.

Roy, believing that honesty is the best policy, finally reveals his profession to Angela and immediately she is intrigued and wants in on the action. Roy teaches her a few tricks and Angela surprisingly catches on very quickly and begins to tag along on Roy’s jobs.

One such venture is a business opportunity with a large pay off for Roy and Frank. Frank has found the perfect victim, Frechette (McGill), a corrupt business man who hungers for money. The partners then hatch a plot to take Frechette for all he’s worth, but to find out the rest, you’ll have to go see the film.

Nicholas Cage pulls off a wonderful performance and the transitions from his “characters” are smooth and fluid; he does a great job of incorporating them all as a part of Roy.

Sam Rockwell’s Frank is the perfect protégé to Cage’s Roy.

Alison and the rest of the cast all turn out good performances as well.

“Matchstick Men” gives Ridley Scott another piece of solid film making to add to his résumé, which includes “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Thelma and Louise.”

This is a good movie to take a date to because you can enjoy trying to figure it out together after it’s over. So, grab some popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy.