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Matchstick Men August 17, 2006

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.

This movie by Ridley Scott starring Nicholas Cage and Sam Rockwell is one of the most innovative con movies I’ve seen. (BTW, this was the inspiration for last year’s Bluffmaster).

The story is about a big time conman played by Nicholas Cage whose life gets a bit complicated when his 13 year old daughter comes into his life. As he and his partner (Sam Rockwell) try to pull off a big one, things seem to be working fine until something goes wrong towards the end.

The screenplay is brilliant….there is no way one can guess what actually transpires towards the climax. The performances too are good. I’ve seen quite a few movies involving conmen but I single this out because unlike others it is very believable and does not involve the use of high profile gadgets and stuff like that.

Even if you have seen Bluffmaster, I would still recommend that you watch Matchstick Men because Bluffmaster is only inspired from this movie and is not a remake.


1. Sai - August 17, 2006

I’ve been wanting to create a character with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when I make/script a movie (as I hope to do someday). After watching this I now realise it has been done but there still is scope to use the idea to generate a lot of humor and maybe add a dimension to a particluar character. The screeenplay (by Nicholas and Ted Griffin) is based on a book by Eric Garcia (which has the same title as the movie). Ridley Scott (who made a variety of movies ranging from Alien to Blade Runner to Gladiator) adds more variety to his resume with this movie which is really both a drama and a comedy (a dramedy if you will). The movie keeps you hooked till the end. Most movies with “con artists” tend to be thrillers that follow a formula but this one is refreshingly different.

Bluffmaster (slickly made by Rohan Sippy) is certainly inspired by this movie and they seem to be paying a tribute by naming the central character Roy. However, it is just inspiration for the main idea and structure while the actual scenes are different (kudos to the screenplay writer Sridhar Raghavan, who has also written Khakee, for not lifting the scences as is). I would rate Bluffmaster slightly lower than this at the screenplay level (there is more depth in Matchstick Men). However, Bluffmaster certainly had more entertainment value because there was more excitement and humor in that movie which was never intended for this one.

2. vallabh - February 16, 2010

I was reading your review of “Bad Lieutenant” and was amusing myself with the thoughts of Cage’s atypical performances and this movie came to my mind immediately. A really well scripted movie with great performances. What makes such movie work is the confidence audience places in the characters of certain age/gender. As RGV says, this gullibility of audience is exploited at a much larger scale in a lot of horror movies.

Another movie that runs on similar lines of Matchstick Men is “Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)” from which Bluffmaster heavily borrowed. Despite occasional disappointment in Bluffmaster for blatant ripoff of some scenes, I thoroughly enjoyed Nine Queens too.

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