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Look out for more coverage of
Spartan in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Spartan

THE STARS:
Val Kilmer • Derek Luke • William H. Macy
DIRECTOR: David Mamet

Val Kilmer finds a plot THE CONCEPT:
Written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, David Mamet, Spartan spotlights Robert Scott (Kilmer), an agent with a highly secretive special operations force, who is recruited to find the President’s daughter, only to discover a sinister plot that surpasses anything he has known in his career.

U.S. RELEASE: March 12 2004, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

Can you explain Robert Scott’s character? DAVID MAMET:
“Scott has been told ‘If you stop thinking and simply follow these tasks, you will be rewarded, and you will be accepted into this elite warrior class, but you must never question the rectitude of your superiors or the worth of the tasks. Then he’s put in a position where he has to question his assignment and redefine himself as a warrior.”

How do you make a genre film your own? MAMET:
“You can’t help but make a distinct movie, if you give yourself up to the form, because the form is going to tell you what’s needed. That’s one of the great things I find about working in drama is you’re always learning from the form; you’re always getting humbled by it. It’s exactly like analyzing a dream. You say, ‘I know exactly what that means, so why am I still unsettled? I know the part where I kill the monster is important because that means my father, but what about this part about the rabbit?’”

What’s the rabbit in Spartan? MAMET:
“It’s what is done in the second act. Scott finds out that everything is screwed up and it’s not a question of manipulation, and what is he going to do about it? Everyone wants him dead. That’s when he has to make a decision that starts the third act. As in any dramatic structure, the third act is really just a reiteration of the first act where the terms are clarified.”

So personal responsibility is the rabbit? MAMET:
“Yeah, maybe.”

Why did you choose Val Kilmer for the role of Scott? MAMET:
“I’ve always loved Val. I’ve always loved his work. We’ve been talking about working together for years and Art Linson, who produced the movie, and I were having lunch one day and Val was literally at the next table. Val came over, we talked about how we were going to do something together, and Art and I looked at each other.”

Is there anger in this movie about what’s going on today? MAMET:
“Everything’s about what’s going on today, because everybody is affected by the environment in which they live. This movie is about a guy who’s faced with the choice of giving up absolutely everything in order to maintain the one thing he said was the most important thing in the world. Here’s a guy who’s willing to risk death, but is he also willing to risk sorrow, or his belief system? What’s more important to him, to hold onto his feeling of purpose, or to hold onto a sense of honor, which transcends that? And so, of course, he’s going to go kicking and screaming, who wouldn’t?”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Spartan site
Images above © Warner Brothers Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #642, April 2004 cover

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