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German title Tricks
Original title Matchstick Men
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2003
length 111 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Ridley Scott
script Nicholas Griffin
production Sean Bailey
Ted Griffin
Jack Rapke
Ridley Scott
Steve Starkey
music Hans Zimmer
camera John Mathieson
cut Dody thorn

Tricks is a tragicomic film directed by Ridley Scott , shot in the USA in 2002. In the lead role is Nicolas Cage as the neurotic con artist Roy Waller. The film is based on the novel Matchstick Men by Eric Garcia . The original English title Matchstick Men means stick figure .


Roy and Frank make a living cheating on unsuspecting people by selling them worthless or non-existent things. Roy himself is a man plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder , reluctant to go outside and has to clean . This goes so far that he has no friends and is lonely.

When Roy's pills, which his previous psychiatrist got him, accidentally go down the sink drain, he urgently needs new ones to cope with his anxiety. His old doctor can no longer be reached, so Frank recommends a psychiatrist. He asks Roy in detail about his problems and his way of life before giving him new medication. Roy says he doesn't know what happened to his ex-wife's baby. At Roy's request, the psychiatrist establishes contact with his 14-year-old daughter Angela.

Roy reluctantly takes the girl in at first because she wants to get to know him and tells him that she had an argument with her mother. Later, at her insistence, he lets her in on the tricks of his deception, but insists that she must never use these tricks herself.

A big coup by Roy and Frank, in which the men can steal $ 80,000, is carried out relatively successfully with the participation of Angela. Shortly thereafter, the duped man appears in Roy's apartment with a gun, but is gunned down by Angela after a brief fight. Roy wants to protect his daughter and take the blame on himself. He lets Frank take Angela to a safe motel and wants to take care of the man himself. When Roy returns to the house, the supposedly seriously injured man is no longer there. When Roy notices this, he is already knocked out.

Roy wakes up in a hospital to be interrogated by two men who introduce themselves as police officers. He doesn't want to cooperate with them. However, he confides in his summoned psychiatrist and reveals the access code to his safe deposit box, in which all his assets are. The psychiatrist is supposed to give this access code to Angela, who received a power of attorney.

When Roy wakes up after the conversation, nobody is there anymore. He is also not, as he thought, in a hospital, but in a container on the roof of a parking garage that has been converted into a hospital room and now realizes that his partner has betrayed him and that everything was only faked. The big coup, his alleged daughter, the shot victim and his psychiatrist were all just part of a plan to get his fortune in the safe deposit box.

A year later, Roy has an honest job as a carpet salesman. One day the girl who pretended to be his daughter happened to walk into the store with her boyfriend. It is a difficult encounter, but it ends in a kind of reconciliation. Finally Roy makes his way home, where a woman is already waiting for him. It is the cashier from the supermarket, with whom he was one of the few people in his life to have regular contact. The woman is pregnant and everything seems to have come to a positive end for him after all. Although he is no longer wealthy, he is happy.


The shooting of Tricks began on July 15, 2002 and ended on August 31, 2002. Most of the film was shot in California , including Los Angeles , Anaheim and Marina del Rey , only the recordings in the Rokycany Military Museum were made in the Czech Republic . The film premiered on September 2, 2003 at the Venice International Film Festival . The film was shown in US cinemas from September 12, 2003, in Switzerland it was shown on September 17, 2003, in Germany one day and in Austria one day later. On the opening weekend, more than 13 million US dollars were grossed in in the USA , with a total of around 36.8 million US dollars at the US box office. Almost 150,000 visitors were counted at the German box office.

Alison Lohman plays a 14-year-old girl in the film. In fact, she was 22 years old at the time of filming in the summer of 2002.

The name of the role Frank Mercer pays homage to Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mercer , of whom Roy Waller plays records in the film.

Due to security concerns, the footage taking place at Los Angeles International Airport was shot in the entrance area of ​​the Anaheim Convention Center, which is about a mile south of the Disneyland Resort .

Originally it was planned to forego the last fraud with the fake hospital room, although this is in the novel, as it was feared that the audience would be frightened to leave the protagonist penniless. Eventually, however, Ridley Scott got his way, and that part of the plot was also filmed.


Andrea Bleuler from says: "Director Ridley Scott and the Hollywood stars Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell are so good at what they do that you can overlook the psychological gaps in this petty crook melodrama." She also writes that the film is "one subtle comedy with a slight tendency towards melodrama, staged in the good old Hollywood style, which, however, loses its attractiveness as the plot moves towards normality. "

Günter Schöfl considers the film to be just as “cleverly knitted” as Der Clou , praises Ridley Scott for how “extensively [he] has devoted himself to establishing the characters” and at the same time enhances the performance of the leading actors in every scene of the film - be it as a "behavioral neurotic or a sovereign trickster" - emerged.

Nominations and Awards

In 2004, Sam Rockwell was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Musical at the Satellite Awards .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Budget and box office results according to the Internet Movie Database
  2. Locations according to the Internet Movie Database
  3. a b Start dates according to the Internet Movie Database
  4. a b c d Background information according to the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Film review,, Andrea Bleuler
  6. movie review , Günter Schöfl
  7. Nominations and awards according to the Internet Movie Database