Don't Say A Word
DAYLIGHT robbery, kidnap, ransom threats and the final showdown complete with fisticuffs and guns... "Don't Say A Word" is a hotchpotch of all this.
Michael Douglas plays Nathan Conrad, a leading psychiatrist with a picture-book family comprising wife Aggie (Famke Janssen), who is nursing a broken leg, and an eight-year old daughter Jessie (Skye McCole Bartusiak).
His peaceful, happy existence is shattered one morning when he discovers that Jessie has been kidnapped. What do the villains want? Thankfully it is not wads of currency or some government secret. All the guys want is a six-digit number that is `locked up' in the head of Elizabeth, a mentally challenged patient of Conrad.
And Conrad's job is to `unlock' that number which will lead to a hidden treasure (familiar?), this time a red diamond, and give the number to the `bad boys'.
Conrad works against time (don't they all in kidnapping cases?), cull out information about the emotionally drained Elizabeth (she saw her father brutally murdered as a child), and gain her confidence to get those numbers. The rest of the story is handled on very hackneyed lines and ends on the routine `thriller' note.
One has seen better performances from Douglas. In "Don't... ", he actually hams a lot and his dialogue delivery is too practised. As the helpless mother Famke Janssen is passable. But it is Brittany Murphy as Elizabeth who shows promise among the cast. As the traumatised youngster, she earns the viewer's sympathy.
The film does have some gripping moments like the opening robbery sequence. But soon it settles into predictability. Director Gary Fleder fumbles after a point. The climax is set in a graveyard on a deserted island in the middle of the night. Now, was that necessary? And not to forget the at-times-jerky at-times-deliberately slow camera movements too add to the drama.
However, "Don't Say A Word", which incidentally is based on a novel by Andrew Klavan, is entertaining and watchable.
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