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Don't Say a Word (2001)



Average Rating: 4.4/10
Reviews Counted: 113
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 86

Don't Say A Word is slick and competently made, but the movie is routine and stretches believability with many eye rolling moments.


Average Rating: 4.4/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 23

Don't Say A Word is slick and competently made, but the movie is routine and stretches believability with many eye rolling moments.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 52,576

My Rating

Movie Info

This psychological thriller from screenwriter Patrick Smith Kelly reunites him with his A Perfect Murder (1998) star Michael Douglas. Dr. Nathan Conrad (Douglas) is a respected adolescent therapist faced with a nightmarish scenario when his young daughter (Skye McCole Bartusiak) is snatched by Koster (Sean Bean), a criminal with a talent for high-tech surveillance. Conrad learns that the kidnapper is desperate for a critical piece of information known only to Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy),


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Anthony Peckham, Patrick Smith Kelly

Feb 19, 2002


20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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April 20, 2006:
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All Critics (133) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (86) | DVD (31)

Fleder can only fling the camera about and indulge in some familiar screen sadism ... as he tries to squeeze a few thrills from material as desiccated as his leading man.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the place of consistent psychological tension, we are saddled with shoot-outs, chases, and fight scenes.

October 4, 2001 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As an odyssey of paternal qualm, Fleder's forgettable thriller has a convincing edge, and Douglas remains unchallenged as Hollywood's most tremulous and disquieting dad-under-pressure.

October 2, 2001 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-crafted thriller that breaks no new ground but is an exciting diversion with plausible twists of logic and an exciting climax.

October 1, 2001 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A big, noisy mess, with a howler at its center.

September 28, 2001 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As generic as the title suggests, this routine psychological thriller about a yuppie shrink whose daughter is kidnapped can't be saved by Michael Douglas's screen presence.

June 13, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

This could have been a pretty tight little thriller if it weren't for the gaping, bleeding plot bulletholes.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source:

Rarely rises above the status of conventional thriller.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Generic thriller.

January 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Michael Douglas has to use nearly every acting trick in his arsenal to distract us from a plot that's as flimsy and fragile as a house of cards.

June 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

O roteiro contém vários buracos colossais que tornam a trama ofensivamente inverossímil.

May 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Dull and drab, with a lack of imagination

March 3, 2002

As the film moves along, the action becomes more exaggerated, more coincidental, and more absurd, yet it never becomes any more exciting.

February 25, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Shhh don't say a word ... it's not that good.

February 4, 2002 Full Review Source: 3BlackChicks Review
3BlackChicks Review

Heaps of implausibilities inhabit the ridiculously twisty plot, and questions abound.

December 9, 2001 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

una opción disfrutable y válida...

December 1, 2001

A smart script and great casting elevate a pedestrian premise to the status of satisfying thriller.

November 19, 2001 Full Review Source:

Features inexplicable actions, dubious coincidences, and characters you'd happily murder yourself given half a chance.

October 29, 2001 Full Review Source:

Plodding and lacking in logic.

October 29, 2001 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

Starts off simple, gets unnecessarily complicated, ties itself into further knots.

October 15, 2001 Full Review Source: Jacksonville Film Journal
Jacksonville Film Journal

Gary Fleder directs this thriller with panache making the most of interlocking elements of the drama.

October 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Gary Fleder's Don't Say a Word is one of the most complimentary films to hit the screens in years.

October 12, 2001 Full Review Source:

If only this workmanlike thriller were as much fun as mimicking Brittany Murphy's singsong delivery of the film's tagline.

October 11, 2001 Full Review Source:

Little more than wasted potential - a would-be thriller that could have been great fun, but instead is as appealing as a plate of cinematic leftovers.

October 4, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Don't Say a Word

Renowned psychiatrist Nathan Conrad visits an 18 year old woman who is mentally disturbed with his colleague Dr Sachs. The next morning he awakes to find his daughter kidnapped and him and his wife under surveillance by a shadowy group of men. He is given until 5pm that day to get the patient to reveal a 6 digit number to him that is locked up in her head. Meanwhile his wife is trapped in their flat and police woman Cassidy is piecing together a puzzle that begins with the discovery of two related murders.

It doesn't matter how daft a story is if it manages to convince you for as long as it's on screen. For example Face/Off has the most absurd plot in the world, but for 2 hours it doesn't matter and it carries you along. This doesn't quite manage the same trick. The plot is daft - every single part of it is silly from the idea of a girl being unreachable is daft, the idea of the gang doing this is daft and the way that with very little notice the gang manage to set up cameras everywhere.

That said it has it's moments - the opening robbery is good and some of the drama works well. However for too much of the film you feel like the director is really trying to make it feel more tense than it is - witness the scene where Conrad first finds talks to Patrick Koster on the phone, the camera spins wildly all round him. Similarly he uses a lot of handheld stuff to give the impression of more action than is really happening, he also uses other lazy tricks like having everyone shouting their lines at times and making everyone squeal their tyres etc when they drive! These combined with the silly plot make it hard to get into.

Douglas is OK but he doesn't convince as the strong father figure that saves the day - he looks too old to take on Bean in a fight. He also looks far to old to have a beauty like Famke Janssen. She does well despite being stuck indoors all the time - the only problem with her is that she is far to warm and perfect a character. Murphy is good although she has moments where she's too hammy. Bean and his gang are good but they are distant from the action and never feel like a real threat - in fact you could almost sympathise with Bean, having been double-crossed at the start and wasting 10 years of his life. Esposito is OK but she doesn't really have a character - she tries to be tough and slightly sassy (a role she did so well everyday in Spin City) but she comes across as nondescript as her black leather coat. Victor Argo is a pleasure to see, but he's wasted here with nothing to do in a really small role. Fans of Abel Ferrera will know him while he's been in other things (notably the two Smoke films) and know how good a character actor he can be.

Overall this never manages to rise above it's silly plot. It has it's moments but with lesser stars this would have been just another silly straight-to-video thriller.
December 27, 2009

Super Reviewer

Don't say a word and don't bother watching this film!
September 22, 2009

Super Reviewer

Excellent thriller about a kidnapped girl and how Michael Douglas a psychiatrist gets information from Brittany Murphy a tramatized patient to solve the case.
December 20, 2008
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

A fantastic performance by Brittany Murphy makes this story so great. My favourite performance of hers to date. Original story, covering a heist, a mental institution and a kidnap

VERDICT: Definitely recommend.
September 12, 2007

Super Reviewer

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