Dont Say A Word 2001 Movie Scene Michael Douglas as Nathan Conrad talking on a mobile phone while holding Brittany Murphy as Elisabeth Burrows

Don’t Say a Word [2001]

It’s nighttime and you feel emotionally and otherwise exhausted from another day of just living. You have just enough energy to watch a movie but that movie has to fit certain criteria. The movie should be easy to watch but also have a certain exciting edge to it. The plot has to be familiar but not too familiar. Great production values along with a solid cast are also a must. These are the movies you know you’re going to finish when you start watching them. And the psychological thriller Don’t Say a Word is one of those movies. It features a captivating yet oddly familiar story, Don’t Say a Word stars Michael Douglas and Sean Bean.

We will be following a psychologist blackmailed by a group of criminals to get them the code they want. During the opening thirty minutes, we will get to know our characters and slowly start piecing together their backstory. However, there will be a lot of unanswered questions left. And then, at the thirty-minute mark, the story just takes off and intensifies. A ticking clock is introduced and from that moment on, everything changes. The atmosphere becomes more exciting and you cannot see where the whole thing is going. And yet you have this feeling that everything is going to end well.

These are the joys of mainstream thrillers. They pull on certain emotions but not too much leaving you feeling entertained and like you just saw something worth watching. And Don’t Say a Word is certainly a movie worth watching. I would add it to the list of three solid thrillers Michael Douglas shot in a span of just a few years. The other two movies are The Game and A Perfect Murder. Of course, he has such a rich film career that you can go just a few years back to reach Falling Down or Basic Instinct.

Apart from him we’ll also have the opportunity to see beautiful Famke Janssen, magnetic Brittany Murphy, and formidable Jennifer Esposito. Three strong female characters with our young and feisty Skye McCole Bartusiak playing the role of a daughter was something rather rare in these old-school thrillers. Of course, opposite of them stood Sean Bean, a cursed man with nothing to lose. Don’t Say a Word is based on a novel so this is why we get this intertwined narrative culminating in one hell of a finale.

Patrick Koster is a man who you do not want to cross. He just robbed a bank with his partners in crime only to find out that he’s been double-crossed. Ten years later and Patrick is still holding a grudge. And he’s willing to do anything to get his way. This is how the Conrad family comes into the picture. Patrick and his gang kidnap their young daughter and pose an ultimatum to the father, a renowned psychologist Nathan. If he ever wants to see his daughter again, he must do what they ask. And so the clock starts ticking…

Don’t Say a Word does take a while to get going but as I already mentioned, once it does, it’s fucking on. The suspense is palpable as we follow both the police investigation and the kidnapping. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before but it’s just so damn effective. Especially if you don’t want to get too invested in the characters or the story. Don’t Say a Word is one of those forgettable but entertaining thrillers that will take you on a ride and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it.

Director: Gary Fleder

Writers: Andrew Klavan, Anthony Peckham, Patrick Smith Kelly

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Bean, Brittany Murphy, Jennifer Esposito, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Oliver Platt

Fun Facts: Michael Douglas is more than twenty years older than his wife in this movie, Famke Janssen.


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