Saturday 15 April 2023

Movie Review: Don't Say A Word (2001)

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Director: Gary Fleder
Starring: Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Oliver Platt
Running Time: 113 minutes

Synopsis: In New York City, psychiatrist Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) is introduced to the case of 18-year-old Elisabeth (Brittany Murphy), a troubled, incommunicative, and violent youth. Nathan and his wife Aggie (Famke Janssen) are then shocked by the kidnapping of their eight year old daughter Jessie by gang leader Patrick (Sean Bean), who wants Nathan to extract from Elisabeth a secret she is hiding about the location of a precious gem. Nathan has limited time to gain Elizabeth's trust and save his daughter.

What Works Well: Slick production quality complements Gary Fleder's assured directing, and the action scenes are expertly staged for maximum excitement. Cross-cutting editing enhances the tense moments. Michael Douglas is reliably sturdy, Famke Janssen contributes beyond the traditional spouse role, and Sean Bean makes for an effective villain.

What Does Not Work As Well: The unnecessarily complicated plot is riddled with logic holes and loose threads, limiting enjoyment to a just-go-with-it exercise. The characters are disappointingly flat, the psychiatry sessions never progress beyond the superficial, and Jennifer Esposito struggles to convince as the detective who gets involved in the case. 

Conclusion: The mix of therapy and thrills rarely excels but does provide passable entertainment.

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