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Matchstick Men - US reaction



Compiled by: Jack Foley

THE heist/con movie gets another spin in the latest Nicolas Cage offering, Matchstick Men, directed by Ridley Scott.

And the word from the States on this one is pretty cool, with the majority of US critics describing it as a hit.

Leading the way is the Chicago Sun-Times, which declared that 'the screenplay for Matchstick Men is an achievement of Oscar calibre - so absorbing that whenever it cuts away from 'the plot,' there is another, better plot to cut to'.

While the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that 'Matchstick Men] is what you get when a bunch of talented pros get together to make a movie without worrying about Oscar nominations, career moves and 10-Best lists. They're just having fun, and chances are, you will, too'.

The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, described it as 'a clever look at con artists and their games of deception', while Village Voice found that 'artful distraction is the key to a successful con, and Cage does more than that for Matchstick Men, dazzling the viewer with a veritable ob-com sonata based on a plethora of tics, hitches, stutters, twitches, and obscure rituals'.

Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, went one further, stating that 'actors Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman perform heavy lifting in the emotional department, almost to the point we forget the movie is about con artists - which turns out to be the film's own con'.

The Washington Post invited viewers to 'let it swindle you; it's part of the fun. In fact, it's all of the fun'.

While the San Jose Mercury News referred to it is 'a whimsical winner in which everybody seems to be having a blast'.

A word of caution, however, was sounded by the New York Post, which felt that 'despite the fine acting, you may end up feeling as suckered as Roy's victims'.

And the Boston Globe felt that 'Rockwell is a hoot as Frankie, but during the stretches when he's not on screen, the air goes out of the film'.

But, in the main, the word was almost universally strong...

USA Today opined that Matchstick Men is 'a well-acted and intriguing exploration of dishonesty in its varied forms, leavened with a dry comic touch'.

While Entertainment Weekly advised that 'there's one other way to approach Matchstick Men, and that's to forget all about neuroses and con artistry and admire the movie instead for the unsettlingly beautiful directorial study in geographical mood that it is'.

While Newsday pointed out that it is an 'unusually intimate outing for director Ridley Scott [which] glides along a slick, shiny, Hollywood-style surface. But the actors keep it real throughout'.

And Rolling Stone felt that 'Cage and Rockwell play off each other with devilish finesse'.

The final word, however, goes to the Chicago Tribune, which summed it up perfectly by stating that 'if Matchstick Men isn't the classic con The Sting was, it still empties our pockets with the fast hands of a master'.

We would urge you to see it.

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