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Overall Rating
2.43

Awesome: 1.12%
Worth A Look: 16.85%
Average: 21.35%
Pretty Bad44.94%
Total Crap: 15.73%

9 reviews, 35 user ratings


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Don't Say a Word
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by Brian McKay

"I'll ne-ver tell . . . anyone that this movie is actually good."
3 stars

That doesn't mean it sucks, either. But from the moment I saw Brittany Murphy singing her "I'll never tell" song in the previews, I could tell that this movie would be trying a little too hard. As it stands, it's another Michael Douglas "thriller" indistinguishable from most of his work and certainly nowhere near the league of "The Game".

Dr. Nathan Conrad (Douglas) is a fancy uptown Manhattan shrink, the cliche'd "Brilliant Psychologist" who seems to have a gift for working with young people, what his colleague, Dr. Louis Sachs (Oliver Platt) calls the "Teenage Touch" (a term which, if taken the wrong way, might mean the threat of disbarment or even a little jail time). Sachs calls Conrad over to his office on Thanksgiving eve to get his opinion on Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), a semi-catatonic patient prone to violent outbursts. Conrad agrees to spend some time with the girl later on, but begs off early to get home to his hot wife, Aggie (Famke Jannsen), who is bedridden with a cast after a skiing accident, and his adorable, perfect Hollywood daughter Jessie (played by an overly-cute Skye McCole Bartusiak - just what we need, more up and coming 3-name celebrities).

Thanksgiving morning, however, the Conrads' world is turned upside down when they discover that someone has broken in during the night and crept off with their daughter. (Why are movie criminals always pulling this kind of shit on the holidays? Can't they just stuff their faces, get drunk, and fall asleep in front of the TV like everyone else?) They get a call from the master kidnapper (Sean Bean) who tells Nathan that the troubled girl, Elisabeth, has a six-digit number in her head that he needs. If he doesn't get it by five that afternoon, his daughter will be killed.

What follows is the typical Hollywood cat and mouse game, as Nathan tries to get the number out of Elisabeth, who has sworn to never reveal it, while also trying to outsmart the kidnappers. There is a subplot involving some murders that may or may not be related to the kidnapping, being investigated by Detective Sandra Cassidy (Jennifer Esposito). However, her portrayal of the tough female cop comes off as stilted, and does nothing to move the main story forward. Her entire role could have easily been done away with. Likewise, Oliver Platt is his usual likeable self, but he drops off halfway through the picture and is never heard from again, or missed for that matter. The remainder of the cast push the story forward to its inevitable conclusion, but fail to generate any real "WOW" type moments. Douglas is competent as always, doing the kind of role he does best as the average urban professional guy who finds himself thrust into a big conspiracy. Famke Jannsen looks good sitting on a bed in a tight T-shirt, but actually gets to leave the bed toward the end of the film. Brittany Murphy, while not terribly convincing as the nut job patient, isn't terribly unbelievable either, and Sean Bean runs through his brilliant bad guy paces.

It's not a dull film, necessarily, and I like some of the directions it took. The problem is, it takes far too many leaps of logic to get to the big plot developments, and those leaps wouldn't stop nagging me enough to let me enjoy the film. For example, when it is finally revealed what the all-important six-digit number is related too, I thought it was a pretty good twist. Then they started explaining how the importance of the six digit number came about, and the explanation fell apart. They tried much too hard, when a much simpler explanation would have sufficed and been vastly more credible. There were other jarring moments that set off the bullshit detector as well, like the fact that the crooks have hidden high tech surveillance equipment EVERYWHERE, including the girl's cell. If they were able to get the equipment INTO her cell, why wouldn't they just smuggle her OUT of the cell and interrogate her for the number they need? And how did they have the time and money to get all this gear together when they all supposedly just got out of prison?

This could have been a pretty tight little thriller if it weren't for the gaping, bleeding plot bulletholes. What we ended up with, though, was something just entertaining enough to kill a couple of hours on a slow afternoon, and be completely forgotten after that.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5535&reviewer=258
originally posted: 10/03/01 15:37:14
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
6/29/13 Janie Ridiculous. A big "S" for SuperShrink on his chest or what ? 2 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner This movie stinks!! 2 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT NEVER REACHES ANY LEVEL OF COMPETENCE REQUIRED OF A THRILLER 2 stars
3/29/08 Pamela White suspenseful drama 4 stars
12/15/06 Ronin Not really a great movie but above average. 4 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
10/01/05 merp somewhat boring, just uninteresting plot, Bean solid as Bean is 2 stars
8/24/05 ES I couldn't by into the premise, just a real let down 2 stars
3/17/05 tatum Entertaining enough suspenser 4 stars
6/30/04 R.W. Welch Overplotted potboiler finally loses all credibility but holds you most of the way. 3 stars
5/21/04 Dean Rapp Well made, but the diamond look too small for all the effort 3 stars
5/03/04 john bale Rather silly thriller hardly lifted by aged Douglas, though Brittany Murphy tries hard 3 stars
8/20/02 I Can't Swim I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. Brittany great, once again 4 stars
8/04/02 KMG TRITE AND TYPICAL 3 stars
4/18/02 Monday Morning Did Michael Douglas get a face job or what? 2 stars
3/05/02 Jenny Tullwartz Watchable action fare, tamer than the previews made it look. 4 stars
3/03/02 Dave Draper A stylish but inconsistant downer, looks like it was edited with a meat cleaver! 2 stars
2/25/02 The Bomb 69 "I'll never tell..." you this was a good film. 3 stars
2/01/02 daria this film moved me, i thought it was amazing 5 stars
12/21/01 Tinka plot was bad, acting worse. I rooted for the baddie at the end. 2 stars
12/01/01 Phoenix Although very implausible, Don't Say A Word is a very entertaining film. 4 stars
11/11/01 TG I liked it; it was well acted which more than compensated for the predictable story line 4 stars
10/30/01 carla sanchez it was lame, i wasted precious sleeping time watching this movie 1 stars
10/29/01 Johnny Bravo This was completely different than what i thought it was going to be 3 stars
10/25/01 Nisha It was ok, but it could've been extremely better. 3 stars
10/18/01 Catherine Schneider I liked the twists and turns. Many thrillers don't thrill, but this kept the suspense. 4 stars
10/16/01 thanatos it would take one hug and two kisses from Famke to get me to watch this again. 2 stars
10/16/01 LINDA HOFFMANN I THOUGHT THIS FILM WAS GOOD IT DIDN'T LEAVE ME WANTED TO GET UP AND RUN OUT. 4 stars
10/14/01 maggie i don't know why people are so down on this movie, i liked it a lot! 4 stars
10/14/01 Sam Moss BaD.... 2 stars
10/06/01 FriscoJohn Decent, not Awesome 4 stars
10/06/01 Amy Murphy shines, Douglas sinks 4 stars
10/05/01 poetchuck Better than I thought, 4 stars
10/04/01 wintermute Dude, they aren't child psychologists, of course they didn't kidnap her - otherwise why MD? 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Sep-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Oct-2001




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