The Spanish Prisoner
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Writer-director David Mamet crafted this unusual, Hitchcockian thriller in which no one is who they appear to be. Campbell Scott is Joe Ross, who has just created a "process" that stands to make his company and his boss, Klein (Ben Gazzara), millions of dollars. At a clandestine meeting in the Caribbean, Ross discusses the details of the process with company executives. There, purely by chance, or so he believes, he meets the wealthy, enigmatic Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), and the two strike up an unusual friendship. Dell informs Ross that he's na´ve to believe that his company… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"David Mamet has a penchant for sleight-of-hand thrillers, and The Spanish Prisoner is his craftiest to date."
‑ Leonard Klady, Variety
"There's something fresh, even restorative, in watching an American studio movie that doesn't treat the movie-going audience like a bunch of gullible marks."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"One exceedingly well-crafted piece of manipulation that keeps the audience strung along with every intricate turn of the plot."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"A reminder that even intelligent films can be exercises of style over substance."
‑ Dragan Antulov,
"A very impressive movie, The Spanish Prisoner entertains mightily."
‑ Eugene Novikov, Film Blather
"The Spanish Prisoner shares with Glengarry Glen Ross a vision of life as a cosmic con game in which the victimizers feed the fantasies of the victims."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"Mamet brings more than a decade's worth of filmmaking experience to his latest project, and his skill as a director has improved considerably."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The result is rather frustrating -- the story works but feels oddly hollow, almost like a con game itself."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A substandard con flick that is surprisingly lightweight for a David Mamet film. In fact, it's so watered down that it feels more like a forgettable T.V. Movie-of-the-week."
‑ Brian Mckay,
"An intriguing whodunit about murder and computer software, The Spanish Prisoner fails because for the most part, its actors aren't up to the task, and Mamet is unable to educate them properly."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"David Mamet's most consistently enjoyable film to date is a cool, typically clever con-trick drama packed with deliciously inventive twists that get ever more convoluted and unnerving as the plot proceeds."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"It rolls its sleeves above its elbows to show it has no hidden cards, and then produces them out of thin air."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"This is probably Mamet's most purely enjoyable film since the gangster comedy Things Change."
‑ , Film4
"In David Mamet's world nothing is what it seems and nobody talks like a real person. The stylized dialogue is not a flaw--it's part of the entertainment. Mamet keeps you and star Campbell Scott guessing until the final moments."
‑ Carlo Cavagna,
"David Mamet's latest contraption has its satisfying moments, but the film is rarely more than just that: a contraption."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
More reviews for The Spanish Prisoner on Rotten Tomatoes