Preview by: Jack Foley
THE heist/con movie gets another spin in the latest Nicolas Cage
offering, Matchstick Men, directed by Ridley Scott.
The former Oscar-winner, turned action star, appears as con artist
Roy, a phobia-riddled criminal, who with protégé,
Frank (Sam Rockwell), is all set to pull off a lucrative swindle,
when the plan is undermined by the unexpected arrival of his teenage
daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman), who disrupts his carefully-ordered
life and jeopardizes everything he has been putting together.
So what's the buzz? Why should Matchstick Men offer anything
new from the current crop of heist movies doing the rounds?
Well, ever since Ocean's
11 re-defined the words 'cinema cool', directors and stars
appear to be falling over themselves to replicate the winning
chemistry which made Steven Soderbergh's masterpiece such a five
But the pedigree on this one looks quite promising. For starters,
Cage knows how to project quirky, as well as endearing, while
Scott is no novice when it comes to directing stylized cinema.
Rockwell, too, is no slouch in the cool stakes, having already
teamed up with George Clooney (twice) for crime capers, Welcome
to Collinwood and Confessions
of a Dangerous Mind.
The story has also been co-written by another Ocean's 11 veteran,
Ted Giffin, who knows a trick or two when he sees it.
The vibe from the set appears strong, too, with everyone falling
over themselves to heap praise on each other.
Cage, for instance, describes working with Scott as a dream,
stating, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that, whereas
many younger, talented directors tend to overdirect or fix things
that aren't broken, 'Ridley can capture everything he's looking
for with very few words and without many takes'.
As for his own tic-ridden character, which sounds very much like
TV's Monk, in terms of paranoia, he is an 'obsessive-compulsive
who likes to keep his life as tidy and low-key as his small-time
Needless to say, the double whammy of his newfound daughter and
Rockwell's more complex scam sets off the behavioural disorders
like never before.
Scott, for his part, felt drawn to the project because it offered
a change of pace from the epics of late - that of a seriocomic,
With historical epic, 'Tripoli', alongside Russell Crowe, next
up for him, it was the perfect opportunity to do something fun.
Advance word on the film, however, has been decidedly mixed,
with leading film website, Aint It Cool News, currently playing
host to two, wildly contrasting reviews.
On the one hand, we are offered a recommendation that, if 'you
want to be completely sucked into a solid, character-driven',
then go see it, but on the other, we have the opinion that it
is 'all over the map'!
The latter reviewer, who describes himself as 'Mean Mr Mustard',
felt that nothing worked - it wasn't funny, the chemistry was
wrong, the characters unlikeable and the tone uneven (ie, too
violent to be considered a family film, and too cute to be deemed
an R-rated one).
The film is due to open in America on August 8, with a Setpember
19 release to follow in the UK. IndieLondon, of course, will deliver
the full US reaction once it has opened there.