In Scott’s rapid-fire caper film—a cross between The Sting and Paper Moon—Nicolas Cage stars as Roy Waller, a phobic Los Angeles con artist who learns from his ex-wife that she was secretly pregnant at the time of their divorce and he is in fact the father of a 14-year-old daughter (the wonderful Alison Lohman). Before long, dad is schooling his precocious offspring in the family business and realizes she’s a natural. Together with Roy’s partner Frank (Sam Rockwell), they set out to pull off the con of a lifetime. Sleekly directed by Scott from a terrifically clever script by Ted (Ocean’s Eleven) and Nicholas Griffin, Matchstick Men runs its own con on the audience so artfully that, when the movie finally pulls the rug out from under you, you hardly mind having been fleeced.
“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.” —J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
“****. Brilliant.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times