Spartan review

David Mamet making an action movie? Surely some mistake. Well, yes; because while this is a gun-totin' espionage tale, the shoot-ups and fisticuffs unsurprisingly take a backseat to Mamet's obsession with psychological game-playing.

Scott (Val Kilmer) is a mysterious US operative - - cold, distant, supremely professional and capable of handling a little light surveillance at home or full-scale military action abroad. But when the President's daughter is kidnapped, Scott begins questioning his bosses' motives - something that removes the only solid point in his flexible world...

Expect 007 and you'll be yawning in the first 15 minutes. Expect something more like a '70s conspiracy thriller (The Parallax View perhaps) and you'll find yourself getting drawn into a satisfying, complex, occasionally exciting and eminently grown-up thriller. In other words, a typical David Mamet movie... Only minus his wife/favourite leading lady, Rebecca Pidgeon. Which has to be a good thing.

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