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The Independent Recommends: Film

SECRET DEFENSE, which translates as Top Secret, finds Jacques Rivette sprinkling his magic dust on a routine story about a young woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) snagged between impotence and aggression in the search for her father's murderer. It's Hamlet in slow-motion. Rivette has the hungry eye of a voyeur combined with the sad heart of a wounded romantic. Under his watchful gaze, the most innocuous act creaks with foreboding; he very subtly makes you squirm for a full 90 minutes. Only one problem. In Secret Defense, there are still another 80 to go.

On release

In David Mamet's intricate thriller, The Spanish Prisoner (above), Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) develops a top-secret formula. His boss (Ben Gazzara) is demanding his signature to secure loyalty, but an enigmatic new acquaintance (Steve Martin) warns Joe that he is about to be swindled. A playful exercise in twisting plausibility and expectations.

On release