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Psychologist Dr Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) is called in by colleague Dr Louis Sachs (Oliver Platt) to assess a near-catatonic patient. Elizabeth Maddox-Burrows (Brittany Murphy) has battered a man almost to death and Conrad senses she is hiding a terrible secret from her past. His fears are confirmed when his daughter is kidnapped by criminal Patrick Koster (Sean Bean) who knows Elizabeth's secret and demands Conrad extract the vital information or lose his daughter.

Review by Richard Kuipers:
The golden rule book of thrillers states that dreadful things will happen when Thanksgiving, the 4th of July or Christmas are approaching. In this well crafted outing, uptown psychologist Michael Douglas and wife Famke Janssen are just about to slice the turkey when Dr Oliver Platt calls to remind Douglas about the good old days when he worked in public facilities and "had a magic touch with the teens".

Once he agrees to assess traumatised young Elizabeth we know his chances of honouring the Pilgrim fathers are non-existent. Instead we're plunged into a nifty nerve-wrecker that charts a tense and exciting course until the obligatory disappointing finale that accompanies nine out of ten thrillers these days.

The placement of personnel and plot twists is impressive in the set-up that begins with a dynamic robbery scene set ten years previously. Sean Bean is a good, eminently hissable villain, Famke Janssen acquits herself well from her bedside where she's laid up with an injured leg and Douglas pulls out all the right moves from the "father forced to extremes to protect his family" textbook. I could hardly agree with the Tribune Media Services quote on the cover hailing this as "a thriller to end all thrillers...a masterpiece" (where do they find these quotes??) but Don't Say A Word is a taut exercise in tension and has some outstanding DVD features that make it well worth everyone's time.

The commentary track by Gary Fleder (also the director of Kiss The Girls) is first-class and is complemented wonderfully well by scene-specific comments from most major cast members. I don't know how many DVDs have used this feature but not many, I'm sure. It's a great idea that allows actors to comment on two or three key sequences without hanging around for the whole film - and we know how boring that can sometimes be. Multi-angle coverage of selected scenes in the Cinema Master Class segment and a comprehensive look behind the scenes elsewhere rounds out this top-notch release. Highly recommended

Published May 2, 2002

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CAST: Michael Douglas, Sean Bean, Brittany Murphy, Famke Janssen, Jennifer Esposito, Oliver Platt

DIRECTOR: Gary Fleder

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentary by Director Gary Fleder, Scene Specific Audio Commentary by Michael Douglas, Oliver Platt, Sean Bean, Making Of Featurette, Cinema Master Classes: Pre-Production/Production/Post-Production. Language: English. Subtitles: English (HOH)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2002

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