you don't understand. you're gonna leave your life, or you're gonna leave the information in this room. - spartan.

here is a movie that defines its title. forget about character development, forget about side stories, forget about levety... this movie is simply about one thing: finding the girl. written by david mamet, spartan involves the search for the u.s. president's daughter. i don't want to say too much about the plot, except that val kilmer's character, scott, is a single minded individual, a self proclaimed "shooter, not a planner," who does nothing but follows orders and gets the job done. his idea of interrogation involves slamming a man against a wall, then asking, "where is the girl?" repeatedly like a broken record and then prompty breaking the interrogated man's arm before telling his partner to take his knife out and gouge out the man's eye.

the movie goes through bodies like changing socks, picking up characters and then discarding them whenever it is convenient to do so, all in the goal of finding the girl. the writing is tight, if just a tad bit robotic, but lively at the same time. the acting is good, and there's an urgency to the whole thing, because the girl needs to be found. you're not gonna see two people falling in love during the course of the investigation, you're not going to find the main character coming to terms with who he is, and you're definitely not going to get a touching sequence between father and son. what you are gonna get is some sharp writing, with a plot that moves along at a ferocious pace, opting to get to the next interrogation or next lead instead of stopping to smell the flowers. there's no time to rest here; the girl has to be found.

like lord of war,
spartan is a movie that i regret to say sort of fell under my radar when it first came out. yeah, i heard about it, and yeah, i saw the trailer, but i never bothered to see it until it came out on dvd when i was bored. at any rate, spartan was made with such great skill, and i was definitely impressed.