Don't Say A Word


Directed by: Gary Fleder
Written by:Anthony Pecklam, Patrick Smith Kelly
Starring: Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Jennifer Esposito, Skye Bartusiak
Released: October 25, 2001
Grade: C+

As a psychiatrist, Dr. Nathan Conrad (Douglas) is respected and renowned.  As a father, he is loved and adored by his wife Aggie (Janssen) and his 8-year-old daughter Jessie (Bartusiak).  It’s the day before Thanksgiving and Nathan just wants to get home from work to spend time with his family.  He plans on taking Jessie to the city’s Thanksgiving parade so she can see the huge Bart Simpson float.

Nathan’s perfect life is about to come in collide with Patrick Koster (Bean).  Ten years ago, Koster was shafted following a bank robbery he orchestrated when a partner ran off with a million dollar ruby.  After being tracked down, he threw himself in front of a moving subway train when he wouldn’t reveal the location of the ruby but police witnessed to the act and Koster was put away.

Now, having just been released, Koster knows there’s only one person who knows where the ruby is.  That person is 18-year-old Elizabeth Burrows (Murphy), the daughter of Koster’s victim, but she’s been in a mental hospital for some time having failed to come to grips with her father’s murder.  Dr Nathan Conrad has been asked by a good friend to take a look at Elizabeth and see if she can be helped.

Nathan is not the only one concerned about her well-being.  Koster kidnaps Nathan’s daughter and is going to use her as leverage.  He tells Nathan that inside Elizabeth’s mind is a 6-digit number that will reveal the location of the ruby and unless he can get her to open up by 5pm, his daughter will be killed.  Nathan fiercely protests the lack of time but as reality sets in, he knows the clock is ticking and he’ll have to call on all his skill and nerve to find the answers.

Don't Say A Word applies traditional Hollywood formulas with little deviation.  The sterile characters and setting make the film a dull bore.  The lack of suspense also sucks the film into an unemotional void.  Michael Douglas is just going through the motions as the screenwriters have given him little to work with.  It’s all silly nonsense really and once you find out what the 6-digit number is for, you’ll give a quiet chuckle.

Unlike the film’s title, I won’t keep my opinions suppressed and have no qualms in writing off a most overrated production.