Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/Germany, 2004. Franchise Pictures, ApolloMedia Distribution, ApolloProMedia GmbH & Co. 1. Filmproduktion KG, QI Quality International GmbH & Co. KG, Signature Pictures. Screenplay by David Mamet. Cinematography by Juan Ruiz Anchia. Produced by David Bergstein, Moshe Diamant, Art Linson, Elie Samaha. Music by Mark Isham. Production Design by Gemma Jackson. Costume Design by Shay Cunliffe. Film Editing by Barbara Tulliver.
After the president’s daughter is kidnapped and taken by sex-slave traders from the Middle East, the Secret Service recruit a Lone Wolf military man (Val Kilmer) to track her down and be the one to enter the hot zone and retrieve her. When it turns out that the girl was actually drowned in a boating accident and mistaken for the one who got kidnapped, the operation is called off, but not before Kilmer’s suspicions are aroused that there’s more going on than meets the eye. David Mamet’s terrific script is marred here and there by theatrical dialogue that conflicts with his naturalistic approach to the material, but it’s nothing that keeps this from being a top-notch thriller with shockingly effective violence and fascinating character development. The only sour points come from a completely false Kilmer, who gives an overly stylized performance in a film that is trying to be gritty and real. Derek Luke is a standout as Kilmer’s protege, while other roles are filled out by Tia Texada, Ed O’Neill and Mamet regulars Clark Gregg and William H. Macy (who for some reason is always better in everyone else’s movies).