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.
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.
Joe Ross is a rising star. He's designed a process that will make his company millions. He wants a bonus for this work, but fears his boss will stiff him. He meets a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell, and they strike up an off-kilter friendship. When the boss seems to set Ross up to get nothing, he seeks Dell's help. Then he learns Dell is not what he seems, so he contacts an FBI agent through his tightly-wound assistant, Susan Ricci. The FBI asks him to help entrap Dell. He accepts, a sting is arranged, but suddenly it's he who's been conned out of the process and framed for murder. Bewildered and desperate, he enlists Susan's aid to prove his innocence.Written by
When Susan and Joe leave the airport by bus, the police cars that have just arrived are parked about 20ft from the bus. The bus pulls away as the two of them begin to talk. After a bit of talk we see that the bus had only traveled about 10ft despite previous shots establishing otherwise. See more »
Well, if they learned one thing from making this film, I hope it's that Mamet should never sit in a director's chair again. I'm not prejudiced against Mamet. I like some of his films, particularly Glengarry Glen Ross, which is actually one of my favorites. But The Spanish Prisoner plays and sounds like a high school production. Literally.
I cannot for the life of me understand how this film can be called intelligent. Yes, it does not rely on violence, sex, swearing, drugs, alcohol, traffic violations, or even jaywalking to at least make it interesting. So call it a moral film, whatever that means. Oh, yes, it has a "plot." I assume that is why it's called intelligent.
I sat through this "plot" not knowing a thing about the film and I could see and hear the twists coming like I was tied to a post watching a host of bison pounding impending death into my ears. Plus it had more holes in it than a room full of acupuncture patients.
To begin, the editing was AWFUL, particularly the initial 30 minutes. Typically, when two characters walk into a room, it really does look like they were engrossed in conversation before walking in front of the camera. But in TSP, it looks like Mamet had just given the go ahead to roll tape. It played like it was made up of strips of paper cut up with scissors and then glued together. There might as well have been a speedbump noise every time there was a scene change.
And the dialogue?! What is even more discouraging than the abysmal quality of most films coming out now is when we're sold a piece of goods and people are convinced that it's intelligent. At least with the first problem, we're merely disgruntled. With the second, we're delusional. I find that depressing. So this film depressed me for that reason.
How contrived TSP is is metaphorically represented by the prime element of its plot structure: "The System." OK? I don't mind vague points. But this is just lazy. Why couldn't he just have made it top-secret information which could be used for insider trading? Or information about a revolutionary new product? The plot of Episode I: The Phantom Menace? Mamet may be acclaimed as a "genius," but he has to do more than throw out a script with a twist to have me sacrificing my first-born to his word processor.
I will grant you that art is not life. That said, it should not be more artificial than artifice requires. If Mamet hopes to continue holding an audience made up of more than sophomoric dilettantes, he should take some advice from another author. The "overdone or come tardy off," though it might impress some, "cannot but make the judicious grieve." Reform it altogether, David.
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