Nicolas Cage and Alison Lohman in Matchstick Men.
Unlikely partnerships litter Ridley Scott's films. Memorable examples include Thelma and Louise to Hannibal and Clarice, to Ripley and Jonsie, but let's not forget about Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts (American Gangster, 2007) or Roy Waller and Angela (Matchstick Men, 2003), one dramatic, the other comedic, but both duos of crime.
When Lucas (Denzel Washington) reprimands his brother for wearing a blazingly stylistic suit of the 70s saying “the loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room,” the audience knows he's serious. His calm seduction demands respect yet leaves us in disgust as he introduces “Blue Magic” to the streets and junkies of New York. Enter detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), racing up the stairwell of a towering ghetto looking to bust the packing system of this “Blue Magic” and delivering a subtle yet just as powerful performance. When the two acting powerhouses are in the same scene stealing “I dare you to” glances of mutual admiration and fear, we can't help but abide the tension with our silence.
Similarly, Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage) imparts wisdom to his more carefree protégé, Frank (Sam Rockwell), and his 14-year-old daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman) saying, “never work where you live and don't write anything down,” all the while seeking advice from his therapist for his ticks, quirks and the consequences of raising his daughter to be a confidence man. Cage, in one of his final critically-favored performances, interacts cleverly with Lohman and Rockwell, who also deliver the acting goods. With each and every glance we get closer and closer (or is it farther and farther?) to discovering who is conning whom or if, indeed, it's the audience that is the mark.
Both films explore the details of life (on literal and metaphorical display) and the deterioration of family in each characters' very attempt to save it. Though lenghty (American Gangster at 157 minutes and Matchstick Men at 116 minutes), these films suspend time through witty dialogue and suspense in what one could call a cinematic long con.
American Gangster screens Friday at 1:00pm and Monday at 6:15pm. Matchstick Men screens Monday at 9:15pm. See them together, or any two films in our complete Ridley Scott retrospective, and save with our double feature package!
CONTEST: Suggest your own creative double feature of Scott films for a chance to win free tickets! There are two ways to enter:
1. Tweet your double feature using the hashtag #DoubleScott along with a link to the series page.
2. Post your double feature on Facebook with a link to the series page and email a link or screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries close Friday, May 25 at noon. Winners will be randomly chosen from all entries and contacted on Friday afternoon. Good luck!