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ridley scott

Last year’s Prometheus split audiences and critics down the middle, with Ridley Scott’s much-vaunted return to sci-fi in general and the franchise that founded his reputation in particular not going down as well (or at least as consistently well) as he would have liked.

You cannot please all of the people all of the time, but a box office return of over $400m against a production budget of $130m isn’t too bad and some critics actually quite liked it. With Scott deep into post-production on the star-laden “The Counselor“, this is as good a time as any to look back at his best work.

As always, other opinions are available, so hit back in the comments section if you think there have been any glaring omissions…….

Matchstick Men

6. Matchstick Men

Some might regard this as a left-field choice, but bear with me. Undoubtedly a genre shift for Scott, but still with strong emphasis on character, Matchstick Men gives us Nic Cage and the always good value Sam Rockwell as con artists building up to a big job until Cage’s teenage daughter rocks up, looking to connect and making Cage’s already phobia-beset life even more complicated. Like the Ocean’s films, Heist, The Grifters and the rest, there are plenty of plot twists, but the film is never too clever for its own good, nor does it forsake character and plot integrity for the sake of a twist.

Yes, there are developments, twists and rug-pulls, but the whole film holds together really well and most importantly we care about the characters, rather than them being mere plot devices, where the twists are all and the characters are just a means to get us there so that the script-writer can show us how clever he is. More importantly, the tone is relatively light and breezy, Scott for once eschewing his predilection for serious, earnest fare and having a bit more fun. It is undoubtedly tricky to make a film that is (relatively) light-hearted whilst keeping it from being jarringly lightweight, but Scott manages it, even keeping Cage’s ticks and quirks from over-balancing the film. Which is no mean feat in itself.

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.