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The Independent Recommends: Film

IN DAVID MAMET'S intricate thriller The Spanish Prisoner (left), Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) develops a top-secret formula. His boss (Ben Gazzara) is demanding his signature to secure loyalty. Meanwhile, an enigmatic new acquaintance (Steve Martin) warns Joe that he is about to be swindled. Whom should he trust? This is a playful exercise in twisting plausibility and expectations - there is a scientific detachment about the way Mamet explores every permutation of a scenario which ping-pongs between the Kafkaesque and the Hitchcockian. While Mamet's paranoid fantasies retain a sinister edge, they have the vitality of new fairytales; they are about seeing the world over again, through other eyes.

On general release

The Real Howard Spitz is a sharp and sunny family comedy. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) plays a failed crime novelist who turns to writing children's books, only to find his hatred of children a slight disadvantage.

On general release