Matchstick Men on DVD
Theyre not con men. Theyre con artists.
Its no different than any other profession. It takes skill, brains, and
a willingness to follow through.
Roy (Nicolas Cage) is one of the best there is, and his partner, Frank (Sam
Rockwell) is well on his way. And now that Roys 14-year-old daughter,
Angela (Alison Lohman), has entered the picture, they have quite an impressive
The trio are planning to flimflam a flimflammee out of a lot of money, but
they have to make sure Angela is up to the task. So they put her through a series
of tests to find out of she has what it takes to play in the big leagues. But
the stress begins to get to Roy, whos not only an agoraphobe and a germaphobe,
hes also an obsessive compulsive. Sometimes it seems like hes not
up to the task himself, but being the best in the biz also means getting things
done regardless of the circumstances.
Matchstick Men is a cleverly written, phenomenally acted little crime caper
in the tradition of Oceans Eleven (and was also co-written by Ocean screenwriter
Ted Griffin), Heist, and The Score. Its part quirky comedy, part crime
thriller, and part stylish character movie.
The main problem with Matchstick Men is that it takes so bloody long to get
going. For the first hour and a bit, absolutely nothing happens. Then, suddenly,
everything happens so quickly that you have to stop and think to make sure what
you think just happened, actually happened. It features some great twists and
turns that were pretty sure most people wouldnt see coming.
Cage is outstanding as Roy, the leader with more problems than not. Youre
perfectly willing to believe he has all these quirks because Cage plays him
so naturally, and theres almost a hint of self-parody. Rockwell, who is
one of those great, underused actors, unfortunately doesnt have quite
enough to do this time around, but would probably steal every scene if he werent
playing opposite such talented individuals. Finally, Alison Lohman is equally
impressive, considering shes a 21-year-old gal who seems to have no trouble
looking and acting exactly like a 14-year-old.
Ridley Scott brings his veteran talent to the film, focusing as much on the
characters as on the story. Had it not been done this way, the film probably
wouldnt have worked nearly as well.
It may not be bringing us anything brand new, but Matchstick Men is worth checking
out for the performances alone. It doesnt hurt, either, that it has an
eventually compelling plot to keep you wanting to watch. A very high recommendation
for fans of the genre.
While it wasnt exactly a monster hit, the movie still gets a very nice
DVD package that features the kind of making-of documentary we dont see
nearly enough of these days.
Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality is very good
overall, but has a slightly muddy tone that works well for the film. Colors
are excellent with great detail and fleshtones, and no halo effect or edge enhancement.
None of the whites drown out the actors faces while the blacks dont
hide anything we need to see. The muddiness works for the same reason it worked
on Oceans Eleven; but why that is, were not quite sure.
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, and while there isnt a lot of surround use,
the quality of whats there is more than adequate. The dialogue-heavy film
is never hard to hear, with minimal volume fluctuation and front channels that
share the load equally. The score manages to creep from all five speakers subtly,
while some of the arguments that take place do use the 5.1 very effectively.
The DVD sports a very fine assortment of extras, including a 70+ minute documentary
entitled Tricks of the Trade. Its a video diary style look
at the pre-production (25 minutes), production (28 minutes) and post-production
(18 minutes). It follows Ridley Scott as he puts everything together, including
the casting, costumes, and locations, then follows him during the shoot, and
as he wraps everything up. Its a very well produced documentary that tells
us a lot about the making of the film, but doesnt spend too much time
on anything. Scott also provides a very good audio commentary for the film (which
is typical of his commentaries), talking about the production, and providing
plenty of tidbits to keep things entertaining. Finally, the films theatrical
trailer is also present on what is one of the best non-special edition DVDs
Warner Bros. has ever produced.
Matchstick Men, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
116 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce McGill
Produced by Jack Rapke, Ridley Scott, Steve Starkey, Sean Bailey and Ted Griffin
Screenplay by Nicholas Griffin & Ted Griffin, Directed by Ridley Scott
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