Acclaimed playwright David Mamet continues his movie-directing career with the noirish political thriller SPARTAN. Mamet clearly relishes a challenge, and by casting former Hollywood bad boy Val Kilmer in the lead role, this could be his biggest risk yet. Fortunately it's one that pays off, as Kilmer excels throughout in his role as Robert Scott, a high ranking special operations agent. Scott's expertise is called upon when the daughter of the U.S. President, Laura Newton (Kristen Bell), is kidnapped while studying at Harvard. Teaming up with rookie officer Curtis (Derek Luke), and a variety of Secret Service agents, Scott enters into a dangerous race against time to find Laura before the media gets its claws into the story. Twists and turns in the storyline are a Mamet trademark, and SPARTAN is no exception, with Kilmer and co. meeting a variety of bizarre dead ends on their desperate search for the abducted girl. A lead in the case suggests that Newton has been sold to a white slavery ring in Dubai, and a mission is mounted to find her, with Scott and Curtis at the helm. But when the mission is aborted at the last minute, Scott unwittingly stumbles into a possible Government cover up, which on further investigation leads him up to his neck in scandal, conspiracy, and a threat to his own life. Mamet clearly enjoys keeping viewers guessing, and as he continues to cloud the plot in smoke and mirrors, he ensures that nothing can be taken for granted right up until the final minute of the film.
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