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The Spanish Prisoner: Excellent movie!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Holadem, Oct 9, 2001.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    I rented this a long time ago, then returned it without watching it (it happens). I finally got it back yesterday and all I can say is that this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, better than Memento (though it has little to do with it).
    I like the "espionnage" atmosphere of the beginning on that Island, where "nobody is what they seem", which seems to be the main theme of the movie. The web of intrigue is carefully woven and you just NEVER know what is coming next. The ride this movie takes you on rivals if not exceeds that of the Usual Suspects.
    I heartedly recommend this one to fans of intrigue.
    Anyone has similar recommendations?
    --
    Holadem
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Well-Known Member

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    I agree - TSP is a great flick. Its only real flaw IMO, is Rebecca Pidgeon. Maybe it's just me but I think she's very awkward as an actress...
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    He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
    -- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Yeah, this movie did sour me on Rebecca Pidgeon as an actress. She was just so "obvious", maybe it was a creative choice by her hubby, David Mamet who wrote and directed this film, but I just never like her performance in this film.
    ------------------
    PatCave; HT Pix; Gear; DIY Mains; DIY CC; Sunosub I + II + III; DVDs; LDs
     
  4. Brad_W

    Brad_W Well-Known Member

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    I too enjoyed The Spanish Prisoner. I made my wife watch this movie about a year ago and she also enjoyed it. I normally don't like Steve Martin, but his serious acting in this movie gave me a fresh new look at him.
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    "I was born to murder the world." -Nix (Lord of Illusions)
    My Home Page http://www.geocities.com/masternix/DVD.html
    [Edited last by Brad_W on October 10, 2001 at 07:36 AM]
     
  5. Thi Them

    Thi Them Well-Known Member

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    I had no problem with Rebecca Pidgeon. The problem I had with the movie was that Campbell Scott didn't make a copy of the process. I still think it's a great movie though.
    ~T
     
  6. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Well-Known Member

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    This was one I didn't follow. I watched it twice and for whatever reason, my brain just wasn't able to make the necessary connections to raise this film to a watchable level. Too bad because Martin was excellent and most of the cast seemed quite capable. Would one more viewing snap things into place?
    Bruce
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    [​IMG]
    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
     
  7. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    What puzzles me is that while the Usual Suspect is a fairly famous movie, I never really heard much about The Spanish Prisonner, which like I said earlier I find at least just as good.
    --
    Holadem
     
  8. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Holadem, the reason why The Spanish Prisoner is less well known than The Usual Suspects is simple - there's no violence or sex(so there goes the lobotomised male audience), the character's aren't working class and don't swear all that much (so there goes the approval of critics who want 'social relevance') and it requires intelligence and concentration (thereby eliminating most of the rest of the modern cinema-going public). Personally, I think the Spanish Prisoner is one of the great movies of recent years, and easily the equal of The Usual Suspects.
    Having said that, I can see why some genuine movie fans may be put off it. It is a little arch, particuarly in the acting (this is deliberately done, I suspect, to enhance the feeling of creeping paranoia)and if this is a barrier to getting involved in the movie, then you aren't likely to engage with the plot.
    [Edited last by andrew markworthy on October 11, 2001 at 02:28 AM]
     
  9. Marc_Sulinski

    Marc_Sulinski Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if anyone else agrees with me about the ending...
    Spoiler:
    I get the feeling that there is another level of deception going on at the end. Is it possible that these people are not real law enforcement agents, but are there merely to placate the main character so he will stop pursuing those who stole his process?
    One scene that causes me to think this is the one in the airport near the end. The way the woman kept saying that her child had torn the book and gotten his fingerprints all over it was way over the top and coincidental, causing me to think that maybe she was planted there to make the main character remember that he had the book.
    Anyone else get this feeling too?
     
  10. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Well-Known Member

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    I was only happy about half the film. Once things start getting revealed, it got very predictable for me. Maybe I've seen too many of this type of film, but it left me somewhat disappointed.
    Jason
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    My DVD Collection
     
  11. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Well-Known Member

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    I fell in love with Rebecca because of this movie. Certainly one of my favorites and one that gets a lot of play. The 'mannered' speech gives it a great atmosphere, with a feeling of a play (like many of Mamet's movies).
     
  12. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Well-Known Member

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    Like Marc, I think The Spanish Prisoner is a con within a con within a con. Several things, the woman at the airport among them, make me think this, but I won't go into detail unless someone specifically requests this.
    Like Alex, this movie caused me to fall in love with Rebecca Pidgeon (David Mamet is a lucky, lucky guy!).
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    "Home is where the theater is!"
     
  13. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    *SPOILER ALERT* Marc, I hadn't thought of that, but I think that's a neat explanation. It would also account for what I thought was an unconvincing moment when he was given that fake shamrock (it was the Rebbecca P character who forced it on him - otherwise he'd never have taken it). The one snag is that the real police had got involved and didn't some of the real police appear in the final scene?
     
  14. Casey Neutron

    Casey Neutron Well-Known Member

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    I loved this movie and I loved Rebecca Pidgeon in it--especially her subtle little smile when Campbell Scott tells her she needs to spend some time in her room.
     
  15. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Well-Known Member

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    But were they the real police? That's the question. If one can fake an office, a club, FBI agents, etc., why couldn't one fake a police station and the "police" and "U.S. Marshals" to go along with it? Look carefully at the station itself as well as the "police procedures" they go through. Doesn't something seem just a bit "off?"
    And then there's the issue of the Swiss Bank Account which requires a $500,000 minimum to be opened, and yet the "police" claim there's one in Scott's character's name.
    Additionall, there's a line about "Japanese tourists" that's said, in one form or another, by several different people in the film. Who are they? Isn't this just a bit coincidental?
    Regarding Rebecca Pidgeon's smile at the end, it is more than just amusement at a funny line: it's a knowing smile. There is much more to The Spanish Prisoner than meets the eye!
    ------------------
    "Home is where the theater is!"
     
  16. JohnS

    JohnS Well-Known Member

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    I just got around watching this great movie.

    I LOVED IT!

     
  17. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Well-Known Member

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    With regard to the torn book,

    You'll note that she had already planned to set him up by giving him the gun in the camera case. When he hears about the book he sends her into a panic. That's why she has to rush off to notify her partners in crime about the change in plans (which prompts Steve Martin to step up to kill him).


    So, no, I don't think the torn book speech was planted.

    Great movie. I think I need to view this one again.
     
  18. JohnS

    JohnS Well-Known Member

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    Alex,
    Yeah, I forgot about that.
    But, I still think we're right about the ending[​IMG]
     
  19. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Well-Known Member

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    I thought it was good, but not nearly as good as another Mamet movie, House of Games (I think).
     
  20. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    i havent seen it in a while but i left the movie thinking the male lead was a little dumb or maybe way to gullible, easily mislead or lead.

    i'll have to watch it again to be able to be more specific.
     

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