David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.
Continue reading: Spartan Review
Despite the High Seas setting, the film takes the form of merely a series of conversations among various characters on the boat. Central to them is grad student Dale (Tony Mamet, David's brother), working the boat to earn money during the summer. Then there's an ornery captain (Charles Durning) and his number two (George Wendt). There's a strange fireman (Denis Leary) who stays below deck. There are horny guys (J.J. Johnston and Jack Wallace) who argue the merits of Steven Seagal and his toughness. There's also a lovable deckhand (Robert Forster) who teaches Dale a thing or two about life, love, and so on.
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There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.