Citizen Critique - Don't Say a Word

by Jeremy Browne


Michael Douglas portrays his usual clench-jawed, much-put-upon Middle-Aged Guy in this would-be thriller. He plays noted adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Nathan Conrad, on his way home for Thanksgiving weekend when he's summoned by a colleague to meet a new patient. The girl, Elisabeth Burrows, is violent, difficult and obviously troubled. Still, she suddenly becomes quite valuable to Dr. Conrad when his own daughter is kidnapped soon thereafter. Why? (Here's where things get a bit implausible...) The kidnappers are looking for some stolen jewels, and only Elisabeth knows where they're located.


So we've got Elisabeth, catatonic and uncooperative, and we've got the doctor with a bad case of the panicky frownies. This could actually have been a reasonably stylish film, but it's just so damn derivative. Everything here is a formula, from the same kind of "hey, you can't do this to me" persona Douglas exhibited in Fatal Attraction to the "I'm-crazy-like-Angelina Jolie" school of mental illness acting exhibited by Brittany Murphy.


True to the title, the movie's solution isn't in words but in numbers (as in those that make up a safe combination). You'll find yourself thinking in numbers, too -- the number of minutes ticking away until the movie's over and you can leave.

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