“Cage’s fidgety central turn as Roy Waller, which channels the most elegant of the actor’s natural talents — and the most egregious of his meme-ified tendencies — into a singularly humane portrayal that’s too holistic to be sliced into supercuts, but also too feral to have been performed by anyone else. Matchstick Men came out right in the sweet spot of Cage’s career, flitting into theaters through the open window between his last Oscar nomination and his first direct-to-VOD schlockfest. It was after he’d become a punchline, but before he’d become the joke.
“Cage is not as unhinged as he was in Vampire’s Kiss, or as cartoonish as he was in Face/Off or as virtuosic as he was in Adaptation. His performance here isn’t subdued by the middle-class malaise of It Could Happen to You, or possessed by the white man’s kabuki of his police work in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Roy calls to mind a little something from all of those roles, but he doesn’t belong to any one of them.
“And yet, if you took Cage’s entire filmography and crammed it into a blender, Roy Waller is the puree you’d be left with inside.”
A few years ago I took the time to record two Matchstick Men supercuts, both from a discussion between Waller and Bruce Altman‘s Dr. Harris Klein — clip #1 and clip #2. Then, years later, I discovered this clip: