In this crime drama, professional con men Roy Waller (Nicolas Cage) and Frank Mercer (Sam Rockwell) sell water filters to unsuspecting people who pay ten times their value in order to win bogus prizes, which they never collect. Roy is the veteran and Frank his protégé. Roy, an obsessive-compulsive agoraphobic, has no personal relationships and is on his way to losing his wits. Frank is patient and encouraging. Roy discovers that he is the father to a 14-year-old girl (Alison Lohman) who wants to meet her father. Angela’s appearance initially disrupts her father’s neurotic life, but Roy begins to enjoy the new relationship with his daughter. While this film somewhat glamorizes the con artist, it also shows the downside of feeling guilt over the act and fear of revenge by those being conned.
Movies from the past came to my mind as I watched “Matchstick Men”: “Paper Moon” and “The Sting”, which both involve conning people. “Paper Moon” has the father-daughter dynamics of relationship. As in “The Sting”, there are many twists and turns in this movie as well. To say anymore would involve giving away the ending! The Dove Foundation cannot approve this movie, due to language and the theme of using a child to commit a crime. One of the interesting aspects to me, was watching Roy’s OCD [obsessive compulsive disease] abate as he began making better choices in his life. He was given placebo pills by a psychiatrist, and watching his desperation and the lengths he went to acquire a refill, was pathetic viewing. Not Dove approved, but a candidate for Family Flix Edited DVD [when DVD available], because of the great lessons in life for savvy parents to discuss with their children.