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Any early comments on "Don't Say a Word?" (1 Viewer)

Perry Jonkheer

Second Unit
Jan 31, 1999
I am particulary excited for this film. Looking to see if anyone has any comments or reviews.
Thank You.


Mar 7, 1999
From The Onion's AV Club (an excellent place for reviews BTW):
Of the few twists in Don't Say A Word, an alternately routine and hysterical thriller starring Michael Douglas, the most surprising is that it was conceived as a novel first and a 30-second TV spot later; all signs point to the contrary. A classic bait-and-switch, the film has just enough hook in its high-concept premise to lure audiences into theaters, but lacks the conviction to follow through on its own basic ridiculousness. The setup is a doozy: After his young daughter is kidnapped, Douglas, a gifted New York psychiatrist, has about seven hours to pry a six-digit number out of a near-catatonic patient (Brittany Murphy), whose information will lead his child's abductors to a stolen diamond. Though classified as a psychological thriller, Don't Say A Word operates more like a heist movie, only in this case, the master thief has to break into a young woman's seemingly impenetrable head. Murphy is introduced with more hype than the Overlook in The Shining. In and out of psychiatric hospitals since childhood, she was detained for murdering a man so savagely it took five others to pull her off him, but she also suffers from a list of pathologies as long as a Russian novel—including the ability to mimic pathologies she doesn't have. As Douglas busies himself with Murphy, the high-tech kidnappers (led by Sean Bean) torment his wife, Famke Janssen, who's laid up in bed with a leg cast like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. Meanwhile, the superfluous Jennifer Esposito, a tough police detective defined mostly by her leather jacket ("I'm sexy, but I mean business," it seems to say), pursues the case from another angle, always a full step behind the action. The sessions between Douglas and Murphy are meant to capture something like the tension between Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in The Silence Of The Lambs, a film director Gary Fleder knocked off even more directly in his 1997 hit Kiss The Girls. Yet for all the advance billing, Murphy's mind is less a fortress than a gym locker, easy to rip open with a little persistence and a few lessons gleaned from daytime talk shows. Fleder and his screenwriting team cop out by making Douglas more sympathetic than he should be, never considering that his mad quest for the six-digit number may be more exploitative than therapeutic. Not that it matters anyway, because the little details of character, psychology, and common sense are thrown out the window in the third act, when gratuitous violence and by-the-numbers suspense take over. Don't Say A Word makes reference to a festival of classic thrillers—the aforementioned Rear Window and Silence Of The Lambs, as well as The 39 Steps and The Night Of The Hunter—but it hasn't learned a thing from them. —Scott Tobias

Alex Spindler

Senior HTF Member
Jan 23, 2000
The very sparse comments on Rotten Tomatoes aren't too encouraging. I don't recommend going to any films that go beneath 40%.
Bombardment Society - Member

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I found this film to be slightly above average. Somehow it lost steam as it was headed towards its conclusion. If it was popcorn, I'd describe it as needing some butter and plenty of salt, it was just very bland, and the direction was maybe too heavy-handed. The parallel storylines that involved the Jennifer Esposito character (a police detective) and the rest of the main story (a shrink's kid is kidnapped so the shrink is forced to find the mysterious -digit number inside a wacko mental patient, while his wife is forced to play the Jimmy Stewart role in Rear Window) just don't really mesh too well, and Esposito is just too much of a light-weight for the role. Michael Douglas gives a perfunctionary acting-by-the-numbers performance, but it's just not a great role. Sean Bean as steretypical bad guy is just as pedestrian. Brittany Murphy was okay as the mental patient, nothing too extraordinary.
All in all, I rate it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.


Senior HTF Member
Jan 1, 2001
i must have missed something, but could someone tell me how the Sean Bean character knew about the six digit #? did he know it was a grave site and just decide not to tell Douglas? or did he not know it was a grave site? if he didn't know, how'd he know about the number at all?!??!

Jason Merrick

Supporting Actor
Mar 2, 2000
Simi Valley, CA (Los Angeles)
Real Name
Jason Merrick
I'm not a good review writer, but to sum up my feelings, I enjoyed it. :)
EricW - good question! I hadn't even thought of that...

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