Spartan review by Matt Fuerst
Spartan is somewhat unusual in that Mamet is both the writer and director. Mamet has done both a few times with mixed results. With Spartan it all worked out, to great success. Spartan is the story of the presidential daughter. Or maybe it's the story of an anonymous Joe (a Val Kilmer never given a real name in the film) working in the "security system" of America. Which story is the important one? well, I'll leave it up to you.
The presidents daughter is snatched up one night. Who did it? Why? Security Joe (aforementioned Val Kilmer) is called in early on the situation to try to recover the daughter. Joe goes about trying to quickly, and efficiently infiltrate the underground to find the daughter. The dialogue here is sticcato, quick, rapid fire, like a machine gun. Kilmer quickly goes under cover from situation to situation. At one point, he's a creep in a bar, looking for an underage girl who may have been snatched earlier in the day. The next day he's a criminal piece of trash shooting up a diner and getting chummy with a felon who happens to have a key piece of information. Kilmer transforms himself from scene to scene as required.
The situation only worsens.... the Presidents daughter - dead. Found off the East Coast of Martha's Vinyards. Dead from a long party weekend with her promiscuious professor. Or, is she? Could the polticial system be just that corrupt?
Spartan delivers the goods on so many levels. There is both action and drama present. But, really, what takes the forefront in both the dramatic and action scenes is the Mamet dialogue. I imagine his nature - brief sentences specifically designed to deliver the maximum impact in the shortest period of time - can really turn some people off. Mamet rewards people who pay attention - serious attention - to his films. If you are used to making out during your film watching, you are going to be fairly bewildered as to what's happened in Spartan
As I sit here and watch Spartan for say the fourth time, I am still amazed. There are still quite a few little tidbits I've missed in all my previous viewings. I really miss the shock of the many twists and turns of the first time I watched it. I remember the shock of my first viewing, and am jealous of the innocent Matt that got the first look at Spartan. Give it a rent, and experience it. Your first viewing is free, on me.
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