Embrace the bitter and post your own reviews!

The Not-So Spanish Prisoner

 

The Spanish Prisoner (1997)

I’ll be serious then I’ll be bitter…

The movie is a strong effort from the late 90’s that feels like an almost independent, but not quite, drama. Well casted and decently executed.

The plot according to IMDB is “An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that.”

I actually think this is really inaccurate. Joseph (Campbell Scott) is a loyal employee whose only real concern (with the company he works for) is making sure that he receives the bonus his boss keeps dodging questions about. Eventually other concerns based on this come to light, but I don’t think is intention was to do harm to the company. There is more to it than meets the eye and a tale of intrigue unravels.

The movie is well performed by the leads and supporting characters. Campbell Scott gives a good performance as a semi-disconnected scientist type. If you saw the work that he did in Singles, you know what he’ll do. Can he act in a more blue-collar role, I wonder? Rebecca Pidgeon (hehe pity the high school kid with that last name) plays the somewhat clueless, but not really girl good enough.

Steve Martin is in this movie as well, as Julian Dell. It’s good to see the man act in a role that has no real humor to it. He’s a serious business type that makes friends with Joseph shortly after he pitches the sale of his new formula (or whatever he created).

And now the bitter…

David Mamet does a good job of directing, but his writing is sometimes overly fancy with the dialog. In the case of Ricky Jay’s character George Lang it sounds like Mamet was really excited to write a character that almost every piece of dialog spewed is like verbal masturbation. The man has to say something intellectually witty every sentence. Seriously, no one talks like that. It’s unnatural and only sticks out like a sore thumb. Rebecca Pidgeon is given a few lines like this, but they aren’t as obvious.

Put it this way, if he would have written every character in the movie this bad it would have been another Romeo and Juliet, by Baz Luhrmann. That movie made my ears bleed from the overly written dialog. Hey I can write all like Shakespearean. Watch me spew the shit all over the screen! But I’ll give you more on that in its own review.

The plot twists are a little obvious, but I was surprised by some of the details of the situation at hand.

It really sucks that Steve Martin isn’t in it more. It’s great to see something serious from him. I’d love to see more of that since he can actually act, unlike the vast majority of Hollywood (I had to balance the nice compliment with something not-so-nice). ☺

So it’s worth checking out as long as you expect something that came out in that timeframe. A 90's movie that is a little slow, but not poorly paced, with a few sometimes-obvious plot twists.

Images:

Campbell Scott, David Mamet, Rebecca Pidgeon, review, Spanish Prisoner, Steve Martin, bitter balcony Campbell Scott, David Mamet, Rebecca Pidgeon, review, Spanish Prisoner, Steve Martin, bitter balcony Campbell Scott, David Mamet, Rebecca Pidgeon, review, Spanish Prisoner, Steve Martin, bitter balcony Campbell Scott, David Mamet, Rebecca Pidgeon, review, Spanish Prisoner, Steve Martin, bitter balcony

Trailer:

Credits:

Directed by: David Mamet
Written by: David Mamet
Cast: Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon





Source of the Bitter: JAS

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