Watchlist of movies that only you and your best friends might appreciate.
Suggestion: Use www.random.org/ to draw which ones to…
An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.
A very nicely woven tapestry of storytelling intrigue and potential red herrings. It seems nothing is happening but the anticipation of something happening is palpable. Then it turns out something was actually happening all along - we just didn't see it.
Mamet giving us moments of predictability and then taking those away is exactly what makes the film unpredictable and delectable. Ricky Jay could use some more screen time as he gets all the good one-liners.
There is a couple moments of convenient plot contrivances and one instance of terrible, "hint hint" dialogue, but outside of that this is a very enjoyable thriller that will easily steal your attention away from whatever you're doing.
One of David Mamet’s most insinuating thrillers, The Spanish Prisoner is about an engineer, played by Campbell Scott, who develops a “process” that stands to make his company a great deal of money. Before he will disclose it, however, he wants to renegotiate the terms of his contract. As might be expected, his company prevaricates, and their prevarication gradually spirals out into a conspiracy designed to divest him of his rights as an employee as much as the process itself, resulting in one of those rare films in which a select group of actors feels more and more like an ensemble cast as the story progresses, as Scott comes to realise that everyone in his vicinity has been touched, in…
David Mamet creates another humdinger with "The Spanish Prisoner," a fun, twisty drama in which Campbell Scott gets screwed, royally, by a master con man. The eclectic cast, including a remarkably restrained Steve Martin, is a major highlight of the film, but it is Mamet's carefully woven script that hooks you in for the ride.
Whenever you embark on a David Mamet movie that involves the world of the con, you must remember that the real intrigue of it all is not the payoff, but the journey leading up to the payoff. I feel reluctant to even call it a "payoff", because Mamet is not worried about supplying us with a twist ending to knock our socks off. No, inside his universe it is about the trickery of the moment, and if you start thinking about that so-called "payoff", you're left in the dust and missing the point.
It's always interesting to see how actors debuting in a Mamet film handle the flow of the genius's material, and in the case of The Spanish Prisoner,…
"Beware of all enterprises requiring new clothes." - Words of Wisdom from David Mamet, or more specifically, David Henry Thoreau.
This twisty-turny triple-con starts off slow, and then slows way down. But the pleasure is in the walk down the rabbit hole with Campbell Scott, and honest working math genius who has his miracle macguffin...er...process threatened to be stolen by outside interests to his company; a company who is also, likely, trying to screw him over. It is a rude awakening for our Boyscout (literally) patsy John Ross (Scott) but a smartly written meditation on vanity and hubris, concentration-interuptus from a pretty woman and where good intentions (and too many assumptions) all too often lead.
The Ricky Jay supporting role is sublime, and he gets most of the great quotable lines (as he does in Heist and House of Games...other well oil'd David Mamet confidence-machines.
"Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due."
I remain a David Mamet apologist, particularly when it comes to his films about conmen, confidence games, schemes and scams; The Spanish Prisoner, like House of Games, is a fairly obvious con-film but the skill of the writing is that this never distracts from how enjoyable it is, if you happen to like Mamet's trademark flat, circuitous dialogue, and who couldn't when it is spoken by Ricky Jay, Felicity Huffman, Ben Gazzara and Campbell Scott. Campbell Scott is especially watchable, this film comfortably sits alongside his good work in Roger Dodger and The Secret Lives of Dentists. Though, I think the film is stolen by Steve…
A perfectly cast film by David Mamet. If you like Mamet, you'll like this.
I found this 'masterpiece' boring to the extreme and the Dr Seussian dialogue infuriatingly annoying. There wasn't a single character I enjoyed watching nor one plot twist that was faintly entertaining.
Not a bad movie. Pretty flat. Wooden. The female characters are obnoxious. The main character seems uncomfortable. Fashion is dated. Technology is dated. Story is interesting. But clunky. The beginning is alright. The middle is bland. The ending is pretty lame. Mamet is a great writer. But his direction isn't very good. Not much to like here. Ambivalent 2. Not a 1.5. Not a 3. Maybe a 2.5 down the road.
What a fun movie!
"The Spanish Prisoner" is a clever and suspenseful little mystery/thriller that stars Campbell Scott, a terrific actor who's always flown just under the radar, as an everyday Joe who finds himself at the center of a puzzling -- and increasingly so as the movie progresses -- intrigue being engineered by someone else.
David Mamet proves himself to be as good a director as he is a writer, evoking comparisons to Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith.
Steve Martin appears in an unusual (for him) role, and Mamet's real-life wife (at least at the time), Rebecca Pidgeon, plays a double-crossing femme fatale.
A genuine soul wandering the odd, byzantine halls of prestige, lies and wealth. A passenger on a carousel of lamentations on business and money trying to retain his ideals while tiny pinpricks threaten to bleed his resolve empty. Out his depth falling to the cost of an idea that a different person would exploit safely.
Respect = Naivety
Trust = Weakness
The movie is enjoyable and the plot is pretty good. I like Mamet's dialogue, but it must be very difficult to deliver believably. I had the same problem with The Spanish Prisoner that I had with his earlier House of Games; namely that for most of the characters, and for much of the movie, the delivery of the dialogue was very distracting.
But overall the movie is good, and Steve Martin is surprisingly convincing in this completely non-comedic role.
First Mamet film I've seen other than 'Ronin' (which he supposedly wrote but has since disowned).
You can tell that Mamet is a playwright because the first act of this film feels very unnatural. People give Aaron Sorkin a hard time for his dialogue but Mamet takes the cake here for preposterous. Almost nothing in the first act seems like something a living person would say, yet alone conceive as an on the spot response to someone else. Also unlike Sorkin, it's not usually clever dialogue, it's exceptionally dry.
As the film begun to reveal its tricks and turns, I became more invested in the film but like a lot of con men/heist films, the big reveal here is ludicrously stupid. I will say I liked Steve Martin in this though.
Complete list. :-(
This is a master list of what I consider my favorite films, ranked in order. It will be an on-going…