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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

’Don’t Say a Word’ is just OK

Sometimes you just want to see an OK movie, y'know? It doesn't have to enlighten your view of mankind; it doesn't have to dissect someone's inner turmoil; all it has to do is not suck. And, despite the high standards that critics place upon films, any movie that can avoid sucking has accomplished something special. 

 

 

 

'Don't Say a Word' doesn't suck. It's OK. I went to a matinee, I avoided pricey popcorn and I got my money's worth. I don't want to sound like I'm gushing or anything, but 'Don't Say a Word' is fine. Predictable, uneven, but fine. 

 

 

 

Fine movies, OK movies'these are what entertainment is all about. For instance, I would rather watch 'Meet Joe Black' twice than 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' once. (By admitting that, I'm taking a huge hit to my credibility in the comm arts department.) My reasoning? 'Meet Joe Black' has beautiful art direction, and 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' is too passive-aggressive for my taste. 

 

 

 

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If you're going to watch a movie to procrastinate or to veg out, all the best it needs to be is watchable. Hollywood spends years and millions on movies like 'Don't Say a Word' just trying to make them watchable. Either that, or it makes 'Cradle Will Rock.' 

 

 

 

'Don't Say a Word,' as the ads sum rather quickly, is a thriller about a psychiatrist (Michael Douglas) who has to get a number out of his patient (Brittany Murphy) in order to save his kidnapped daughter. It is director Gary Fleder's both good and bad handling of a novel by Andrew Klavin. Fortunately, it puts most of its bad scenes first, leaving time to redeem itself. 

 

 

 

The film starts out with a bank heist, something that really doesn't belong in a thriller, because there's no mystery to a bank heist. Then, Douglas is introduced more as a hip school counselor than a gifted child psychologist. 

 

 

 

Famke Janssen plays his wife, and almost any actress Douglas' age would have been better for the part. Also, there is some side plot with Jennifer Esposito (from 'Spin City') as a no-nonsense detective. 

 

 

 

Other than that the movie plays well. Murphy is interesting to watch and deserves more screen time. Oliver Platt is in it'I like that. The colors are nice'oxidized tiles are always a good choice. And, Michael Douglas, with that little growl to his voice, was born to say the line, 'Tell me where my daughter is!' Maybe it was all his practice during 'Traffic.' 

 

 

 

Fleder stages part of the Macy's parade, the priest from 'The Sopranos' is one of the henchmen, Douglas flips French toast'I don't know what more you people want. I could recommend again that you go see 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch,' but let's not kid ourselves. Most of the time for most of the people, movies are about marking off the checklist of a date. 

 

 

 

No matter how much this incenses critics, no matter how much they scream that film is a high art and audiences should challenge themselves, what is so wrong with wasting two hours? Everybody needs a break from thinking, and an OK movie beats the hell out of depilatory cream commercials. 'Don't Say a Word' is an OK waste of your time. The only similar movie to recommend is 'Ransom,' but that wasn't that good. Oh well, no recommendations this week.

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