The Spanish Prisoner

1997

Drama / Mystery / Thriller

181
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 21,171

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Clark Gregg as Lord High Charlie
Ed O'Neill as Burch
Steve Martin as Jimmy Dell
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1009.19 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
PG
23.976 fps
110 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.83 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
PG
23.976 fps
110 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spleen 10 / 10 / 10

Runs rings around `The Usual Suspects'

You heard me. Even if you prefer, say, Kevin Spacey's performance in `The Usual Suspects' to Campbell Scott's here (to each his own), at least this is a film that plays fair with us. We begin at what is, from the protagonist's point of view, the beginning of the tale; things happen that are interesting in their own right and not simply because we know that there's meant to be a mystery lurking somewhere; we are given information as we go along; and later revelations actually explain earlier puzzles. Mamet doesn't force us through a maze. Rather, he lets us watch someone else walk through the maze, and it's a pleasure. I'm determined not to spoil this pleasure, so I'm unable to say anything at all, really, about what the movie's about. I can't even tell you to what the title refers. I can't even tell you whether it refers to something peripheral or central. I'd better watch my mouth. As the slogan of a poster in the film says, in letters screaming above a drawing of a torpedoed battleship, `Somebody talked.' Not me. All of the cast turn in good performances - that's right, all of them. I'm tired of remarks about how Rebecca Pidgeon got her role because she's the director's wife. It could well be true, and it could also be true (for all I know) that she's an actress of minor abilities, but her abilities are more than sufficient to make us believe in the character she plays here. How, exactly, is she so very different from Campbell Scott, or from Steve Martin, who, everyone will surely concede, gave the performance of his life? This just isn't the kind of story suited to emoting-while-pretending-not-to acting. All of the characters must dissemble in front of at least one other of the characters (THAT gives nothing away, trust me), and all of them are just a little bit unsettling. I'll close by putting in a word for Carter Burwell's score. The music consists of a single labyrinthine tune, which twists about until we THINK we've caught it, and then stops: it provides a perfect thumb-nail sketch of the film as a whole. Also like the film as a whole, it's simply fun. Unlike so many directors Mamet doesn't act as if he's working in a disreputable genre, in which it's somehow bad form to allow the audience to have too good a time.

Reviewed by Enrique-Sanchez-56 7 / 10 / 10

Brilliantly Clever Mystery within a Thriller

What is so clever about this movie? First: The dialogue is so wonderfully quirky and packed full of nuances. It was a delight to wait for the next round of words in each scene. The character played by Rebecca Pidgeon offered the best delivery of all the actors. Her vocal cadences were sheer fun to experience. Second: It perfectly paced right down to the wonderfully offbeat and unexpected ending. It is NOT a slow moving film. Even if the drama unfolds methodically: **WHAT is wrong with audiences today? WHY must every movie go faster than the Can-Can scene in "Moulin Rouge"? I get ill when I read yet another review which reveals the impatience and lack of concentration skills of the viewer. You want slow pace? Try Theo Angelopoulos! Third: The cast is perfect for every role. Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Felicity Huffman, Ben Gazzara and Ricky Jay. Each of them bring a special character to each performance. Fourth: Movies like this, that don't feed you every morsel of the plot expectation in the first 15 minutes are a welcome breath of fresh air every time they are released. Congratulations on a most memorable movie to Mamet and company.

Reviewed by gee-15 7 / 10 / 10

A film that twists around suspense film conventions (some spoilers)

This is definitely a "thinking man's" suspense film that references thrillers of yore. I was reminded of two old films in particular: "North by Northwest" and "Charade". Both of these movies concern a mysterious goal and questions about identity. The high stakes involved are established in the first scene of the movie with the introduction of "The Process", a vaguely defined procedure or product that will make the company funding it very rich. Joe Ross, the inventor of "The Process", is soon marked for an elaborate con game and finds his world tipped upside down with no one being exactly who they seem. A brief consideration of the plot will quickly reveal holes but plot really isn't the point of the film. It's the ideas presented here that make the film fascinating. Even the title "The Spanish Prisoner" that supposedly references an ancient confidence game doesn't make much sense. The actual confidence game that plays out on the screen bears little resemblance to the Spanish Prisoner as described. In fact, the Spanish Prisoner confidence sounds more like the basic structure of the cinematic thriller (the guy gets the money and the princess). It is this basic structure that Mamet twists just a little. A good example of this is the use of the "innocent remark" that triggers a memory of something essential. A mother berating her child become the example of this in the film but rather than making her remark once (as is usually done in such films) she repeats it over and over again. In doing this, Mamet is hitting us over the head with the comment's significance and calling attention to it as a cinematic convention. Ultimately, what are interesting are the ideas being presented: the effects of deception, the slipperiness of identity and the ambiguity present in all our lives. All of these ideas are communicated via characters' comments and various objects with some kind of metaphoric meaning. For example, the film creates an interesting metaphor with Joe's glasses. At one point, Susan, his secretary, asks him to take them off as if asking him to stop looking at the world through "rose-colored glasses" and see her (and the world for who and what they really are). I wonder if Susan was truly drawn to him at this point and offering him a real relationship if he will only see it. However, he puts his glasses back on and gently rebuffs her. Susan, rejected, becomes committed to a course that will find her ultimately betraying him. Later, when Joe goes to the only person who appears to be his ally and finds him dead, his glasses (with a bloody fingerprint) are left on the table next to the body. He does not wear the glasses for the rest of the film, symbolic of his finally seeing world around him for what it is: untrustworthy and duplicitous. Joe is referred to, somewhat disparagingly throughout the film, as a "boy scout." In fact, the film initially seems to be somewhat contemptuous of "nice guys" in general as it is this characteristic of Joe's that the grifters use to their advantage. Whereas most cons appeal to victims' baser instincts, this one appeals to higher ones. While this appears to be Joe's weakness, cleverly, it is also presented as one of his strengths. There are two times when the con goes awry and both times it is because of Joe's "boy scout" nature. The first is when Joe thoughtfully substitutes the worn-out book given him by Jimmy (to deliver to Jimmy's "sister") with a better copy and keeps the tattered book. The second time is towards the end of the film when Joe helps a woman struggling with her young child through airport security. The mother's comments (as mentioned earlier) spark Joe's memory. In addition, as Joe and the security guard help the woman through, the security guard misses the bag containing the gun handed to Joe by Susan. Unknowing, Joe leaves it behind in his hurry to get back to New York; narrowly avoiding an arrest that surely would have ended all his efforts to free himself from his nightmare. The screen with the x-rayed image of the gun is the only image in the move that we see and Joe doesn't. While it broadcasts an interesting twist, I think the scene was included to also punctuate the idea that "maybe nice guys don't always finish last". However, even Joe's good behavior can't protect him from everything and, to save him, Mamet employs the "deus ex machina" a tried and true method of rescuing the protagonist in suspense films of this ilk. Many a hero has appeared doomed only to have help from some totally unexpected and obscure corner. But even this convention is twisted a bit as the Japanese US Marshall who ultimately saves Joe actually appears in previous scenes. In conclusion, The Spanish Prisoner is a film that entertains you while it's on and leaves you pondering a bit after it's done.

Read more IMDb reviews

0 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment