Main cast: Michael Douglas (Dr Nathan Conrad), Brittany Murphy (Elisabeth Burrows), Sean Bean (Patrick Koster), Skye McCole Bartusiak (Jessie Conrad), and Famke Janssen (Aggie Conrad)
Director: Gary Fleder
This movie is a very standard thriller. It is so standard and average that it is what you’ll call a “sit down and enjoy and don’t ask” movie. But you know what? Michael Douglas had a wonderful face lift before he did this movie, I’m pretty sure, and wow, this movie must be made as a token of gratitude for Mr Douglas’s “personal trainer”. Do you see the way the doc manages to remove all traces of sag and jowls from Douglas’ now perfectly chiseled and rugged chin? I wish I’m a movie star. I’ll never grow old, just more expensive to maintain.
Oh yes, plot. Dr Nathan Conrad, a shrink, is called to examine a troubled girl named Elisabeth. Next thing you know, his daughter is kidnapped and the kidnapper Patrick Koster demands a six-digit number from Nathan (a number only Elisabeth knows). Nathan has one day, and if he fails, daughter Jessie will be, you know, erkk.
Don’t Say a Word is basically nothing more than a programmed, formulaic thriller of Mom and Dad turning berserk to protect perfect daughter. The bad guy snarls like he should, Nathan looks angry with his newly purchased jaw like should, and the ladies did the obligatory kick-ass stint like they should to pander to the obligatory this-isn’t-just-a-woman-in-distress thing. They obviously want me to overlook the ridiculous character of this policewoman, Detective Sandra Cassidy, who is always in danger because she doesn’t have the brain to use her walkie-talkie and call for help.
Famke Janssen and that girl playing the daughter are okay in their one-dimensional, stereotypical roles. Brittany Murphy does very well indeed in her role that, alas, doesn’t actually deviates much from the poor misunderstood psycho babe who just needs a Daddy’s love thing. Michael Douglas and Sean Bean have the least to do. Just stand there, yell a little, snarl a bit, and look stressed, with a little running and cuddling here and there. Seriously, this is one movie the actors could have played while sleepwalking. Devoid of suspense, thrills, or excitement, Don’t Say a Word has gotten more words than it deserves from me already. On to the next movie.