The Spanish Prisoner, The Spanish Prisoner Movie Review, Movie Review, Film Review
Michael A. Maynez   photo

"The Spanish Prisoner"

The truth is always laced with lies, well almost always.  David Mamet has taken a very deceptive title for his new venture.  His 1987 flick title “House of Games” would have been more of and appropriate title then “The Spanish Prisoner”, but then he does like to play game with his fans.  The title is derived from the oldest con game, and the moviegoer expecting a foreign flick will definitely be surprise at this excellent thriller.

David Mamet directs and writes this script like a magician.  I when you think that you are up to his game, he throws you another red herring you were not expecting.  It becomes a crafty puzzle that you desperately want to solve, but he is way ahead of the game.  Sometimes almost too coincidental.  That he has assembled an excellent cast, Steve Martin, really shows us that his talent has not even been tapped.  You will want to see more of this comic turned serious and what a performance to admire, Campbell Scott brings such a believable naivetes to his character, that you can’t help but like him.

Rebecca Pidgeon, is a complex foil, Ben Gazzara as smooth as old whiskey, and just as beautifully blended, Felicity Huffman adds to the already overflowing, convoluted cast, Rick Jay, and old standby for David Mamet antics in almost all of his movies, reminds you of what actors use to strive for in performances.  But in the long run it is David Mament dialogue and his phrasing of words that really delivered the good words, exciting words, magical words, words loaded with duplicity and we are all richer for it.  Play this game and you will be the winner, because he shows you all the steps to really win with aces plus.

The Spanish Prisoner
Sony Pictures Classics
Directed by: David Mamet
Produced by: Jean Doumanain

  • Campbell Scott ------ as Joe Ross
  • Rebecca Pidgeon ---- as Susan Ricci
  • Steve Martin -------- as Jimmy Bell
  • Ben Gazzara --------  as Klein
  • Ricky Jay ----------- as George Lang
  • Felicity Huffman ----- as Pat McCune

  • Executive producer: J. E. Beaucaire
    Co-executive producer: Letty Aronson
    Co-producer: Sarah Green
    Director of Photography by: Gabriel Beristain
    Original music by: Carter Burwell
    Production designed by: Tim Galvin
    Costume Design by: Susan Lyall
    Edited by: Barbara Tulliver
    Written by: David Mamet
    Rated PG for thematic elements including tension, some violent images and brief language.

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    Original Date Sunday 3 May 1998
    Updated Sunday 3 May 1998