8. Matchstick Men (2003) – Directed by Ridley Scott
As obsessive-compulsive con artist Roy Weller, Cage again hinges on his apparently natural ability to tap into some deep well of eccentricity to deliver a performance that appropriately matches Ridley Scott’s frenetic stylings and co-star Sam Rockwell’s fast, smooth, and wise-cracking persona. Constantly twitchy and perpetually annoyed, Cage gives Roy Weller a sense of vulnerability—something that puts him at odd with himself, as Weller is, by profession, not a good person. Without Cage’s ability to make even the most pathetic and detestable characters somehow likeable, it is hard to imagine the character of Roy Weller being the center of a film, and yet he is. Cage embodies what the film delivers thematically—that is, he embodies the character of one wracked by mental illness and a past of misdeed and guilt and portrays him with a growing vulnerability and softness that builds the character arc to what becomes a fantastic climax.