Spartan.

Starring Val Kilmer, Kristen Bell, Derek Luke. Written and directed by David Mamet.
Running Time: 107 mins.
Rated:
Robert Scott (Kilmer) is the classic, loner spy, or special operations agent as they are called these days. He has few friends and lots of attitude. When the US President's daughter, Laura (Bell), is abducted from Harvard University, Scott is bought in to work out who took her, where she is and if she is still alive.

Scott is given a rookie, Curtis (Like), as his partner (aren't they always?). Together they discover that a Middle Eastern white slavery ring took Laura. This cartel have no idea who they've got. On the brink of busting the case, Stoddard (Macy), a political minder in Washington DC announces that Laura has been found dead. Case closed.

Months later Curtis summons Scott out of retirement so they can go on a private crusade to the Middle East to try and find Laura, whom they believe to be alive. With a presidential election looming at home, unseen forces in the USA and Dubai fight our dynamic duo's search and rescue mission.

It takes a while to sort out what's going on in Spartan, but when we do, it's an above average spy thriller. It moves along quickly, has great photography, an excellent music score, and Val Kilmer gives skilfully pulls off the brooding, angry spy.

Spartan is also a very dark tale, with several violent scenes and violent language that will distress many viewers. David Mamet's screenplay enshrines a bleak view of politicians, their minders, bureaucrats and law enforcement agencies.

The world of Spartan is that of "the night,' with Special Agent Scott an unlikely, but effective saviour.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the Director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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