J. & C.'s Movie Reviews

Our Notes on Movies Made Public

Matchstick Men

Posted by J on July 16, 2011

Matchstick Men is a movie that a lot of regular moviewatchers would despise, with good reason.  It stars Nicolas Cage, who, if you don’t like him, you’ll think he’s overacting here.  And then the movie (spoiler alert) is an elaborate con on the main character and all viewers.  Trick endings are tough because they usually require something that, in hindsight, would be practically impossible. The trick ending that this movie offers us is practically impossible, and some people won’t like that.

But oh well.  I accept this movie’s problems because I enjoyed its human considerations.  Cage’s character is well-drawn, complex and rewarding.  He’s an obsessive-compulsive, an agoraphobic, a professional con artist, but also a man hurting because he doesn’t know if his ex-wife bore his child over a decade ago.  As other critics have noted, this movie is three movies in one: a con game, a man-dealing-with-neurosis story, and a father-meets-long-lost-child story.  Cage’s character perfectly converges these three plots.

(FINISH and revise)

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