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Matchstick Men (2003)


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 182
Fresh: 150
Rotten: 32

Critics Consensus: Breezy and well-acted, Matchstick Men focuses more on the characters than on the con.

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 31
Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: Breezy and well-acted, Matchstick Men focuses more on the characters than on the con.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 227,910


Movie Info

Ridley Scott directs the crime comedy Matchstick Men, based on the novel of the same name by Eric Garcia. Neurotic con man Roy (Nicolas Cage) suffers from several emotional problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. He and his partner Frank (Sam Rockwell) swindle people out of money by posing as money collectors who promise things like tax refunds, package vacations, and other fabulous prizes (which they never get). Frank wants to pull a really big job, but Roy is too consumed with fear … More

PG-13 (for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Nicholas Griffin , Ted Griffin , Eric Garcia
In Theaters:
Jun 1, 2004
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Matchstick Men

All Critics (188) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (150) | Rotten (32) | DVD (31)

Matchstick Men never really casts off its cloak of artificiality and calculation; its pleasures are minor, however distracting they may be.

Full Review… | July 7, 2008
Top Critic

Ridley Scott lets us enjoy the satisfying clicks and whirrs of the well-oiled celluloid con trick, while leaving plenty of head room for Cage to twitch and fret in.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A thoroughly absorbing hour and 56 minutes of entertainment.

Full Review… | September 26, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

Matchstick Men is really two movies brilliantly spliced into one, each enriching the other.

Full Review… | September 16, 2003
Top Critic

It's a blah little exploitation picture that thinks it's a deep humanist parable.

Full Review… | September 15, 2003
Top Critic

Matchstick Men isn't even remotely intricate; it's not even particularly interesting.

Full Review… | September 13, 2003
Top Critic

This is a movie about con games at every level.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

Nicholas Cage gives his best performance since "Leaving Los Vegas" as con man Roy Waller in this sophisticated movie about familial responsibility, self-imposed barriers and the possibilities of a well executed long con.

Full Review… | June 12, 2009

A cleverly planned switcheroo story in which the twist at the end is the knife in the back.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Scott tucks away his visual athletics in favour of something leisurely and quietly devastating. It's ultimately far more cunning a script than we can reveal here.

Full Review… | December 30, 2006
Empire Magazine

Matchstick Men works because of the way the key players handle the material. This is the work of professionals acknowledging a good story and knowing better than to get in the way.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Something less than the sum of its parts, Matchstick Men is a decent film that should have been a considerably better one.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

A lot more fun than most of the director's pompously inflated output.

Full Review… | May 4, 2005
Lessons of Darkness

What saves Matchstick Men from being a complete washout are the performances by Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman.

Full Review… | March 5, 2005
NYC Film Critic

Mathstick Men se compare aisément à Catch Me If You Can sans atteindre la qualité de Ocean's Eleven.

February 25, 2005

Despite its string of crime-caper clichés, [director Ridley] Scott's focus on character and relationship helps the film transcend the typical mediocrity of its genre.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Cage is absolutely terrific down to his eye twitches and neck jerks.

Full Review… | October 14, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Director Ridley Scott, whose recent history has brought us wonderful action films like Black Hawk Down and Gladiator, translates Eric Garcia's book about a neurotic con man into a compelling film.

Full Review… | October 7, 2004

... tenuous and beautiful interaction between Cage and Lohman.

September 20, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

...the sort of light, breezy entertainment that feels a lot more like George Roy Hill or Peter Bogdanovich than it does Ridley Scott.

Full Review… | March 14, 2004
Movie Metropolis

The characters are so good that you'll forget about the con game.

March 1, 2004

The story darts in unexpected, dark directions, but is told by such talented people, we follow it willingly...

Full Review… | February 28, 2004

The revelation here... is Alison Lohman... [Y]ou will be amazed by the depths of this talented young woman.

Full Review… | January 1, 2004

Delivers some double-crosses worthy of the best con flicks, with twists that are both punchy and poetic.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Audience Reviews for Matchstick Men


Cage gives a great performance as an obsessive compulsive con artist, Alison Lohman is good as Angela, and Sam Rockwell as just as good as he normally is in roles like this. it's a good attempt at a dramedy by director Ridley Scott, and the film is both well paced and well written.

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer


A complex, very involving drama, "Matchstick Men" displays fantastic lead performances from its main cast comprised of Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman, but also heightens director Ridley Scott to a whole new form of filmmaking where he shows that he can tell a story more through genuine character development than the actual job the film centers on.

Tyler Christian
Tyler Christian

Super Reviewer


Surprisingly solid acting by Nic Cage in this one, matched by a character driven story with a con sprinkled in. Very light but enjoyable throughout -- a great movie for some laughs on a Friday or Saturday night.

Jason Robinson

Super Reviewer


It's hard to imagine after all his war and gladitorial carnage that the playful tone of this film belongs to director Ridley Scott. It's a nice and very welcome change of pace for him.
Roy (Nicolas Cage) and Frank (Sam Rockwell) are a mismatched duo of low-level con men, considering that one is an obsessive-compulsive and the other a louche chancer. But their dysfunctional partnership and Roy's teetering sanity face an even bigger challenge in the shape of his 14 year-old daughter Angela (Alison Lohman).
The con artist's profession has always looked like a great way to make a living. Well, maybe that's just the romanticism of Hollywood but nonetheless it still makes a great way for entertainment. Watching the inside plays and set-ups, feeling as if you're part of it and privvy to hush-hush information is always an audience winner. You can also be sure of a few narrative curve balls here and there, before finally getting the rug pulled out from right under your unsuspecting feet. This is no exception. Ridley Scott wisely plays it very low-key from the get-go, leaving the film to play out in the more than capable hands of his actors and he's rewarded with three excellent performances. Nicolas Cage is all tic-ridden and full of phobias and nervous energy. Sam Rockwell is his usual wise-ass sidekick, lending (as always) more than able support and Alison Lohman delivers a spot on portrayal of a naive teenager fascinated by her fathers profession. It's through these performances that we become involved in the story. They're believable characters and despite their swindling ways, they're likeable.
Not normally the type of film that Ridley Scott has been turning his hand to of late but it's still a finely crafted hustle and the performances are top-notch.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

Matchstick Men Quotes

TV dinners are cool. You should get the TV to go with it.
– Submitted by Jason S (10 months ago)
Roy Waller:
To some people, money is a foreign film without subtitles.
– Submitted by Jacob M (18 months ago)
Roy Waller:
Hey have you ever been dragged to the sidewalk and beaten till you PISSED... BLOOD!
– Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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