(2004)

Critic Reviews

60

Metascore

Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
The patter is always fascinating, and at right angles to the action. [Mamet]'s like a magician who gets you all involved in his story about the King, the Queen and the Jack, while the whole point is that there's a rabbit in your pocket.
100
When he's good, Mr. Mamet is very good indeed, and Spartan stands with the best work he's done. It's fast-moving, unpredictable, and as tautly, tightly wound as thrillers get.
75
Philadelphia Inquirer
An entertaining foray into a world of spy guys, stakeouts and secret government machinations, Spartan teems with the kind of terse crypto-speak that is the playwright and filmmaker's stock-in-trade.
75
Chicago Tribune
Mamet being Mamet, the story has far greater repercussions than whether the kidnap victim will be returned to safety. This is a tale of grand conspiracies, formidable forces, shadow warfare; the more that is revealed, the higher the stakes become.
63
This is one of those movies in which a strong ending might have made all the difference...But the wrap-up is unsatisfying, with too many questions unanswered.
58
Entertainment Weekly
Just cryptic enough to keep you guessing, and for some viewers that may qualify as a night out. But Mamet's gamesmanship was more fun when it was less eager to look important.
50
Imagine David Mamet rewriting his political satire "Wag the Dog" -- in which a president and his advisers declare war to distract the media from the prez's horn-dog activities -- as a joke-free kidnap drama.
50
San Francisco Chronicle
The film remains, clearly by design, a cold piece, mechanistic and only intermittently involving.
50
New York Daily News
If I were in the sign business, I'd produce a bumper sticker that reads "Even smart people make dumb movies" -- and give the first one to David Mamet.
50
The Hollywood Reporter
Ultimately unsatisfying.
40
Wall Street Journal
Feelings play second fiddle to stylized attitudes in Spartan, and fancy style can't conceal the film's clumsiness.

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