Don't Say a Word (2001)
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Review Date: September 28, 2001
Director: Gary Fleder
Writer: Patrick Smith Kelley, Anthony Peckham
Producers: Arnold and Anne Kopelson, Arnon Milchan
Michael Douglas
Brittany Murphy
Sean Bean
A rich psychiatrist with a great home life gets his cute daughter kidnapped by some bad guys who want him to extract some information from the mind of one of his nutty patients. Of course, the patient is not cooperative and the doctor only has a few hours to comply with their demands, before they kill his daughter. Pretty good premise, no?
If you're not a fan of movies packed with plot holes, inconsistencies and yes, even more plot holes, heed my words and skip this hollow thriller. And I don't like saying that either, since this film actually had some potential and started off pretty well. Sure, the story is basically just an amalgamation of RANSOM, PRIMAL FEAR and NICK OF TIME pureed into one, but the whole "psychiatrist working against the clock" thing, actually had me engaged at first. But it's at about the halfway mark of this movie, that the bottom drops out and all that we're left with are a lot of questions and very few plausible answers. We get the overly smart kid who manages to "pull one" over on the bad guys. We get a weak woman with her leg in a cast beating the crap out of a tough bad guy. We get Douglas' character, a New York uppedity psychiatrist, suddenly turning into an action hero, with moves and attitude to boot. And what about the film's main plot point? Why would the bad guys still give a crap about this thing after 10 years, and even more so, why would they only give the shrink until the day's end to do his part? (you waited 10 years, what's another few days?- or why not set up another heist instead?). I'll tell you why, it's because we wouldn't have a (bad) movie otherwise, that's why! And many, many more.

Ugh, whatever the case, it was just about the time that Douglas' character suddenly removed Murphy's character from the mental home (and how come she went with him so nicely? I thought she didn't trust him), that I turned to my buddy and asked when the movie had turned into a joke. And a few bogus chase and action sequences later, we were left with a long-winded ending that did little to answer any other questions I might've still had, and actually brought up even more contradictions. Badly put together, this movie features some decent acting, some nice cinematography and an initially interesting premise, but loses it all in a haze of plot miscues which ultimately leave you with little care for anyone. In fact, if it wasn't for Brittany Murphy's excellent portrayal of a traumatized teen, Jennifer Esposito's embarrassing performance as a police woman (yeah, right! watching her delivering lines was the funniest part of this flick- but it wasn't supposed to be) and Michael Douglas' cool "regular guy" part, there would be little reason to remain seated until the end of this picture. Incidentally, can anyone please give me one good reason why Esposito's character was in this movie in the first place? She was completely superfluous.

And on top of all that, by the end of this flick, the director seems to have realized how dumb the audience must be to have bought most of the garbage that he'd been shoveling out for the hour and a half prior, and decides to add insult to injury by flashing back to an earlier character's death when one of the bad guys dies, just so we know (as an audience), that the two are interrelated somehow. Ooooh, thanks, Mr. Fleder...I appreciate the spoon-feeding, dude...yum, yum...but how about explaining every other plot point in your film that made no sense? Whatever. Either way, I don't give a rat's ass because this movie is a dog and that's unfortunate because it actually did have some good points going for it. See it if you like dumb thrillers. Incidentally, if you appreciated ALONG CAME A SPIDER, you will likely enjoy this film as well. They both start off with interesting premises, only to toss all logic and sense out the window about halfway through.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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