Matchstick Men

Tonight’s film: Matchstick Men, Ridley Scott’s 2003 comedy/drama/caper movie.

He’s a genre-buster, that Ridley Scott.

In the past month I’ve watched every movie he’s made except for 1492, which for some reason is not available on DVD in the US.

Usually in a Ridley Scott movie, the stakes are pretty damn high for the protagonist. Usually lots of people will die if the protagonist screws up. This time, the stakes are smaller but more personal.

You know it’s funny, Ridley Scott’s movies often have a “happy ending,” but he seems to define “happy” differently than most Hollywood directors.


For instance, the happy ending of Thelma and Louise is that they drive into the Grand Canyon.

The happy ending of Gladiator is that Russell Crowe dies, and so finally gets to join his family in the next life. Lucky thing, there being a next life.

The happy ending of Kingdom of Heaven is that after a fierce battle, the protagonist surrenders Jerusalem to the Muslims and prevents further bloodshed.

The happy ending of Hannibal is that the cannibalistic maniac gets away and the wheelchair-bound sicko gets eaten alive by ravenous boars.

The happy ending of Blade Runner is that Harrison Ford and Sean Young make it out of the apartment alive.

Anyway, you get the point.


Ridley Scott, it should be obvious to most, loves to explore a world, usually a world that isn’t often presented to us. And the thing that he seems to love the most is The Rules. The protagonist of the Ridley Scott movie is often thrust into a strange world with peculiar Rules that he or she must learn to follow, or else, more often than not, people die. When the protagonist learns to bend the rules to his or her advantage, he or she triumphs, even when the triumph involves their own death.

Well, enough of that.

Alison Lohman is terrific in Matchstick Men.

Also tonight, the first 30 minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I miss Karen Allen.
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