MATCHSTICK MEN (2003)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Lie cheat steal rinse repeat.
“Con artist. Flim flam man, Matchstick man, loser. Whatever. Take your pick.”
Nicolas Griffin (screenplay)
Eric Garcia (novel)
Highly successful small time con artist Roy Waller has collected a small fortune from the unsuspecting public over the years, but is not so successful in his personal life, overwhelmed by extreme phobias, compulsive obsession, tics and repetitive behaviours controlled only by medication, his house virtually unlived in and meticulously clean, any disturbance to his routine causing him untold distress.
Veteran grifter Roy has an accomplice, Frank, and together they pull off several small time swindles making them a lucrative enough living.
But when Roy runs out of his medication and his former Doctor has left town, he is hardly able to function and Frank arranges for him to see a psychiatrist, Dr Klein, who is more keen to hear all about Roy’s history, but does eventually reluctantly prescribe him further medication.
Roy’s personal history is gradually revealed and we are given to begin suspecting the root of his problems lies in the breakdown of his marriage and never seeing his daughter, who his wife was pregnant with at the time. Roy asks Dr Klein to contact his wife on his behalf, and finds out he has a 14 year old daughter Angela, resulting in the two of them finally meeting for the first time, at the same time agreeing to set in motion a major swindle Frank has been planning for the two of them for some time.
Fun and carefree teenager Angela challenges Roy’s beliefs about his lifestyle in his newly discovered role as a father and he is forced to confront some of his problems and behaviours when she turns up at his house unannounced, throwing his orderly house into disarray and looking through his personal belongings.
Eventually Roy confesses to Angela what he does for a living, and reluctantly teaches her a small con involving lottery tickets but makes her return the money.
Meanwhile frank and Roy’s big deal is going ahead sooner than expected and Roy is faced with little choice but to bring Angela along, deciding to employ her as a decoy. But the sting goes dangerously wrong, and after a long car chase and a fall out with her, Roy tells Angela he does not want to see her again.
On his own once more, Roy’s phobias begin to resurface with a vengeance, and on discovering that the medication given to him by Dr Klein was in fact a placebo, he begins to question whether his condition is all he had come to believe it was and to realise that perhaps Angela was the only good thing in his life.
Reunited, the two return to Roy’s house after dinner one night to what turns out to be the beginning of the biggest con yet.
(c) Cagealot Castle