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Don't Say a Word
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Genre:Thriller
Year:2001
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 53 Minutes
Cast:Gary Fleder, Michael Douglas, Sean Bean, Brittany Murphy

Michael Douglas brings his trademark intensity to the role of a desperate father trying to rescue his kidnapped daughter in Don't Say a Word,, a taut thriller distinguished by unusually fine performances. Douglas plays Nathan Conrad, an accomplished psychiatrist assigned to the case of Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), a young catatonic whom Nathan suspects of guarding an important secret. And he's right: Elisabeth alone knows the whereabouts of a valuable jewel lost by thieves following a bungled heist. The robbers kidnap Nathan's daughter and give him a strict deadline for unlocking his patient's mind and extracting the needed information. Director Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls) introduces us to Nathan, his invalid wife (Famke Janssen), and precocious daughter (Skye McCole Bartusiak) in leisurely fashion but picks up the movie's pace when Nathan begins treating Elisabeth, and then he races headlong toward a spine-chilling climax. Murphy's performance brilliantly suggests the repression of conflicted emotions in a troubled mind, and veteran thriller star Douglas minimizes the effect of improbable plot twists with his persuasive portrayal of the embattled shrink. Thanks to him, Don't Say a Word emerges as both suspenseful and believable -- the most important qualities for a thriller to possess. In addition to a full-length commentary by director Fleder, the DVD offers scene-specific commentaries by Douglas, Murphy, Janssen, and other cast members; Murphy's screen test; several deleted scenes; some of the unedited dailies; three making-of featurettes; and storyboard-to-screen comparisons. Ed Hulse

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