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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Spanish Prisoner

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE SPANISH PRISONER (1998)

Starring Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ricky Jay, Ben Gazzara, Felicity Huffman, Richard L. Freidman, Jerrold Graff, G. Roy Levin, Hilary Hinkle, Gary McDonald and Ed O'Neill.

Screenplay by David Mamet.

Directed by David Mamet.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.  110 minutes.  Rated PG.

The Spanish Prisoner

The Spanish Prisoner is an intricate puzzle box of a movie.  Full of crosses and double-crosses, the film teases the audience into looking the wrong way while it goes for another slight of hand.   This was written and directed by America’s playwright laureate, David Mamet, who swam in similar waters with his brilliant House of Games

Steve Martin is amazing playing against type as a slick and slightly dangerous confidence man who targets corporate drone Campbell Scott.  A reperatory company of Mamet’s talented friends -- Ricky Jay, Felicity Huffman and Mamet's wife Rebecca Pidgeon included – give supporting roles verve and life. 

The plot is brilliantly constructed and complex without being convoluted.  The only problem with this film is that this one of the rare times in his distinguished career when Mamet’s deservedly acclaimed ear for dialogue falters a little -- too much of what is said sounds scripted, not spoken.   But otherwise, The Spanish Prisoner is a fascinating, absorbing film.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 1998 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: March 11, 2017.

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Copyright 1998 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: March 11, 2017.