David Mamet directs Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alice Braga and Emily Mortimer in this martial arts noir where an honourable jujitsu instructor is dragged into a series of untrustworthy transactions.
Action sequences?! What is this a Stallone flick? Even so, possibly the most Mamet of Mamets. Don’t let the mixed martial arts setting fool you. He clearly became enamoured with this world while doing some training, but his take on it is pure Dave. This still has trademark lines of dialogue as succulent as “The belt is just symbolic. The belt, as Snowflake says, is to just keep your pants up.” …And retorts as dry as “Read the street signs. We’re in America.” I won’t give you the context for that one but suffice to say it is a potent humdinger. The plot is sheer quicksand, with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s honourable blackbelt (easily his career best performance) getting deeper and deeper with each interaction he finds himself in. I love this shit. Wish Mamet wrote and direct twice as many like this.
Perfect Double Bill: The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
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