The Spanish Prisoner
The Spanish Prisoner ★★★ 1997 (PG)
Playwright-filmmaker Mamet goes Hitchcockian in thriller involving an elaborate con game. Naive inventor Joe Ross (Scott) develops a formula for something called “the Process” and soon finds himself a victim of industrial espionage. In a bit of stunt casting that works, Martin plays a sinister, wealthy businessman who befriends Joe and advises him about his coroprate employers. No one is what they appear to be (if they were, it wouldn't be much of a thriller) in this unpredictable and seductive puzzle. Although the staccato dialogue is grating at times, and the emotional payoff is slight, there's enough twists throughout to keep you intrigued. Title comes from an old scam that feeds on the greed and lust of the mark. 112m/C VHS, DVD . Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ben Gazzara, Ricky Jay, Felicity Huffman, Ed O'Neill; D: David Mamet; W: David Mamet; C: Gabriel Beristain; M: Carter Burwell.