A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.
Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.
In the US-government's special ops, Scott is a shooter, not a planner, doing the job without regard to quaint or obsolete convention. When a Harvard undergrad goes missing (the daughter of a US leader), it's Scott who applies the pressure, first to her boyfriend, then to a madam whose cathouse is the initial stop en route to a white slavery auction in Dubai. The abductors may not know the girl's identity, but once they figure it out, she's doomed. Deadly double crosses force Scott to become a planner. Through it all, earnest TV newscasters read the drivel they're handed.Written by
David Mamet performed rewrites during production using nothing more than a typewriter on a cardboard box between takes. See more »
Starting at 38:15 into the movie, when Scott shoots the officer escorting the prisoners, you can see a car in the background heading towards the scene. In the next scene, when Scott stands in the middle of the road looking for cars, the car is not present. See more »
You had your whole life to prepare for this moment. Why aren't you ready?
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Writer/Director David Mamet's latest film, 'Spartan', is fast paced, taunt, suspenseful and intelligent. As with most of Mamet's work the action (and, to some extent, the plot) seem to take a back seat to the wonderful dialog with which Mr. Mamet endowes his characters. Much as Elroy Leonard has done in his novels-turned-films ('Jackie Brown', 'Out of Sight', 'Get Shorty', etc), Mamet has taken the time to create senntences and conversations that say more than what is on the surface. His dialog often speaks to the inner turmoil of a given character, as well as the turmoil of the film as a whole and also to the intelligence of the writer and (hopefully) the audience. Couple this with the truly wonderful acting of the cast and the taunt pacing of this film and 'Spartan' becomes more then a great movie, it becomes an example of the artistry possible in film.
As stated earlier, this is an intelligent and quick-witted film. So what could be wrong with it? It may be TOO intelligent and quick-witted. Judging from the responses of the theater-goers that I saw this film with and from various reviews on this site, one can make a good case for David Mamet alienating many of the film's potential patrons by making films which are, to be blunt, too smart for some in our society. Does this act against 'Spartan'? Well, yes and no. Yes, Mamet may be driving potential profits for his films down by using big words and relying on gentle and subtle acting rather than the usual "Top Gun"/Jerry Bruckheimer gun-battle-laden fair with extra explosions on the side. But the result of Mamet's decidedly "Top Shelf" form of film-making is a catalog of films that are interesting on an intellectual level, with dialog that crackles and action (where needed) that is as artistic as any ballet. Regarding Mamet's fine dialog, I over-heard one woman telling her friend that "...no one actually talks like that". To which I say, "Exactly!" We live in a world of ugly speech and mundane activities, the antithesis of which are films that are able to elevate us above the frey and indulge our intellects, perhaps actually requiring us to think in order to keep up with the story. In fact, the more of David Mamet's work one watches, the more one is left with the distinct impression that this is actually the point of a David Mamet film. Art and intelligence in film making seem to be his ultimate goals, resulting in some of the finest films the grace the silver screen in decades.
So if Joe Q. Average's complaints that Val Kilmer hit his acting peak as 'Iceman' in 'Top Gun' (1986) keeps him from purchasing a ticket to this amazing film, resulting in plenty of seating at the theater, no kids running wild through the aisles and no cell phones ringing in the middle of the picture, so much the better for those of us with enough brains to recognize a beautiful film when we see it. I'll take one David Mamet Special with Popcorn and a Soda, please; hold the explosions.
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