Spartan Review

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Scott (Val Kilmer) is a government agent assigned the task of rescuing the kidnapped daughter of a high-ranking government official. In his attempts to save the girl, however, he stumbles across a much wider and more sinister plot.


If it weren’t so po-faced, David Mamet’s Spartan could be a companion piece to Wag The Dog (which he scripted); after all, both focus on the lengths the US Government will go to to cover up a potentially damaging scandal. Val Kilmer plays a special ops soldier probing the kidnapping of the President’s daughter.

When her death is announced, Kilmer suspects foul play. Initially, he seems to struggle with the Mamet cadences, but his is a powerful, performance, revealing a wistful humanity as his unauthorised investigation leads him into murky depths and forces him to re-evaluate his belief system.

Being a Mamet, we expect superb dialogue and twists, but we also get refreshingly compact action scenes, even if the climactic airport skirmish is on the pat side. A lesser Mamet, then, but still compelling.

As usual with Mamet, the satire bites and the dialogue is pointed and crisp.