Spartan (2004)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Spartan</strong> (2004)

(In theaters, May 2004) David Mamet writes and directs this film, so you can expect an off-kilter result. Indeed, his take on political thrillers and special-operative character study features a few precious moments of pure genius. Twists are thrown, dialogue is barked, Val Kilmer is surprisingly good, schemes unfold, American politics are criticized and stoic characters fight for the right thing. Unfortunately, these good moments are intermittent and only get rarer as the film advances. The budget also seems to diminish as the film unreels, and we end up with a Dubai that looks a lot like the Boston we just left. Unfortunate, but not as much as the cold and methodical style of the film, which gets less and less efficient as the plot heats up. The ending features one unforgivable flying coincidence. Not bad, but a bit frustrating… a lot like his previous Heist and The Spanish Prisoner: Good bits and pieces in search of a coherent whole.

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