She's missing.When the daughter of the President of the United States is kidnapped, special ops officer Robert Scott (Val Kilmer) and his protégé, Curtis (Derek Luke), are assigned to find and rescue her. Their mission seems to come to an abrupt conclusion when the media reports the girl's death, but Curtis believes the girl is in fact alive ... And if she is, it can only mean there is a far more sinister and dangerous conspiracy originating within the White House itself.Written and directed by David Mamet (Heist, State and Main, The Winslow Boy).]]>
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If you know who Mamet is, you already know that his dialogue is lean, focused, and idiosyncratic to the point of surreality. You also know to expect a plot consisting of one mind-bending twist after another. This movie will meet your expectations.
It probably won't exceed them; as political films go, this isn't quite up to _Wag the Dog_ (another of Mamet's best screenplays). Its plot is actually -- for Mamet -- pretty straightforward: Laura Newton, the president's daughter, has disappeared, and super-duper Black Ops guy 'Scott' (Val Kilmer) is going to get her back.
By the time we're through we've been cycled through quite a bit of ruthlessness, cynicism, and unflattering revelations about political ambition. The direction is extraordinarily good -- and, for what it's worth, the deaths (of which there are many) are eerily realistic, not yer usual Hollywood screaming-bullets-and-exploding-cars BS. The ensemble cast is wonderful (particularly Kilmer).
But we don't really visit any new territory. For my taste there are a few too many cliches here -- which would be somewhat more acceptable if they were at least Mamet's _own_ cliches, but some of these are Tom Clancy's.
Nonetheless it's all handled deftly and intelligently, and it's miles above the usual run of political thrillers. I'm giving this one four stars by comparison with Mamet's other films, but compared to everything else it's a five-star movie.
When the daughter (Bell) of the President of the United States goes missing, the Secret Service brings in Robert Scott (Kilmer) to investigate. He is one of those shadowy operatives with no name (of consequence) that does all of the government?s dirty business under the veil of secrecy and plausible deniability. He is assigned a young, inexperienced partner named Curtis (Luke). They have very little time before the media gets wind of what has happened. The two men go undercover and trace the young girl?s whereabouts to an international prostitution ring.
Scott is a typical Mamet protagonist in that he wastes few words and everything he says has meaning. Val Kilmer is a perfect fit for Mamet?s tough, no-nonsense world. He does a good job with Mamet?s tricky, distinctive dialogue. Much like Gene Hackman?s character in Heist, Kilmer?s Scott is efficient and ruthless in his methods because time is of the essence and his way gets results.
On paper, the film?s story is a conventional one?it belongs to the action-thriller genres?but Mamet flips all of the clich?s and stereotypes on their head with his unconventional dialogue and characterization. Every bit of dialogue and every action are important. This requires the utmost level of attention from the audience because if you miss something, the film does not slow down and allow you to catch up.
Mamet is a breath of fresh air in this politically correct climate in that he never sentimentalizes his characters or their situations.Read more ›
If you like Ronin then Spartan is choc-full of the same kind of cryptic dialogue with double/triple meanings and clever touches. Not surprising really since Spartan is written and directed by David Mamet who worked on the Ronin script.
When the President's daughter is kidnapped a strict, no-nonsense Secret-Secret Service agent (Val Kilmer) follows an intriguing trail of clues and dead-ends to find out where she is, who took her and why. Hardly sounds original but Spartan dares to do what very, very few Hollywood movies are willing to try; it assumes its audience actually have brains and can figure things out by themselves.
Spartan is the slickest, smoothest and smartest thriller for a good while. Kilmer has his critics and is constantly given a hard time. But here he proves what an actor he can be given the right material. Ed O'Neill also pops up and adds some post-Married With Children credibility to his resume.
Like Ronin, the action is stern and serious. There's nothing far-fetched or unbelievable about this. It may lack the epic feel of Ronin but Spartan is by no means a small movie. I strongly recommend this if you are tired of idiotic action movies and need a fix of something with some class.
The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and a commentary by Val Kilmer (should be interesting).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A little before it's time, I would say. The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat.Published 20 days ago by Michael
You have to watch the movie to figure "things" out. I really enjoyed the flick.
Warning: if you step out of the room, you will be lost for a while. Read more
Another low key but fascinating David Mamet mystery showcasing one of my favorite actors, Val Kilmer. Read morePublished 8 months ago by James Neal
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