The Spanish Prisoner (1998)
Mystery. Intrigue. Young secretaries. Government agencies. No, I'm not talking about the latest scandal in the White House, I'm talking about the film "The Spanish Prisoner," starring many people that you've never heard of, save for a very serious Steve Martin ("The Jerk," "The Jerk," and "The Jerk", to name but a few of his classics). Written and directed with Hitchcockian flair by David Mamet ("Heist", "State and Main", and most recently, "Spartan" with Val Kilmer), The Spanish Prisoner tells the story of a brilliant economist who has created "The Process," a mathematical equation that will guarantee his company vast sums of money. Things start to take a turn for the worse when he's caught in a web of intrigue, where nothing seems to be what it appears. It's an entertaining movie if you enjoy a good thrill, and if you're content with not knowing the full story until the credits roll.
The lead actor is actually bland enough to be believable in his role as the economist, and Steve Martin's mysterious character lights up the story. Mamet's direction recalls the subtle hand of Hitchcock, eliciting moments from "North by Northwest," or "Strangers on a Train." The plot did hinge on one too many coincidences and too-fortunate turn of events, but as a study in crafting a false world that seems all too real, it's a masterful stroke. For those who are looking for a more concrete, yet still exciting story of subterfuge and danger, rent Mamet's "The Heist," starring Gene Hackman and Ricky Jay.
|4 out of 5 Hersirs|