- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Once in a while an exhibit that’s totally enchanting comes to Washington and Oiva Toikka — Fairytales In Glass, at the Embassy of Finland, is one. Mr. Toikka, one of Finland’s most important glass artists, looks to nature for inspiration and playfully applies it to his trademark birds. The artist has created large glass sculptures, including a glass forest, specifically for the show. At the Embassy of Finland, 3301 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Sept. 28. Check the hours before you go at 202/298-5800. Free.

Joanna Shaw-Eagle

Ridley Scott evoked an ominously visionary Los Angeles of the future in “Blade Runner,” but Matchstick Men is his first contemporary movie nestled in an L.A. setting. Like Christopher Nolan in “Memento,” he uses a largely suburban and anonymous batch of locales to document the hideaway milieu that’s closing in on his protagonist, a successful but extremely phobic swindler played by Nicolas Cage. His young protege, Sam Rockwell, offers to help by recommending a shrink, who arranges a meeting between Mr. Cage and Mr. Cage’s previously unknown teenage daughter, Alison Lohman. She is soon hanging around, getting nosy and even demanding apprentice pointers as a con artist. It becomes apparent that Mr. Cage may have become his own worst enemy, and the situations that illustrate this dilemma add up to the most above-board exercise in deception since “The Usual Suspects.” Mr. Scott’s assurance with both imagery and actors seals the deal with a deluxe finish, but the thematic implications are also stronger than usual. Instead of gloating about con men and their schemes, “Matchstick Men” suggests that a criminal life can warp your perceptions and cost you dearly.

Gary Arnold

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