David Mamet has a distinctive writing style that blends elements of reality with a stylized way of speaking to create memorable puzzles where you try to determine what is really happening while listening to the fascinating conversations that are occurring. With Spartan, Mamet creates a thriller with the dialogue stripped down as well as the information that we need to understand what is going on. The film revolves around the basic question, “Where is the girl?” Val Kilmer turns in a precise and compelling performance as the man who will find her. The only title at the beginning of the film is the name of the film and there are no intertitles indicating place or time unlike most thrillers that condescend. You find out what you need to know it and have to listen and watch closely to make sure that you don’t miss any clues. It’s a very efficient film and everything that you see or hear is connected with something else. But it’s more than just an exercise. In a perverse way it’s a fairy tale told through the genre of political thriller.