Don’t Say a Word (2001)

Please stop me if you heard this one… Sean Bean walks onto a movie set…

That opening was pretty lame, but so was the outcome for Don’t Say a Word, which starred Bean as the bad guy. His target this time around is not a king or the king’s army. Instead, it’s a girl in her early 20’s with severe PTSD; Elisabeth Burrows played the late Brittany Murphy. Locked away in her mind is a number to a place that holds a precious treasure. That treasure was stolen when Bean worked with Burrows’ father, who met an untimely death thanks to a New York City subway.

Usually, psychiatrists make a ton of money selling books and solving people’s problems. Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) lives a good life based on his personal practice, which afforded him a beautiful wife and young daughter. When you are one of the leading men in your profession, sometimes that draws the wrong crowd. Bean didn’t drop by the office for a chat; instead, he popped by the house to kidnap a child that wasn’t his, to get an answer he thinks is his. 

As you can see, this is your standard kidnapping for ransom story, but instead of money, the bad guy wants information. That particular information will lead to a boatload of money. However, they just need someone to crack the mystery girl who whispers “I’ll never tell” about a thousand times. 

I’ve owned this movie since it’s release on DVD way back in 2001. As a big Michael Douglas fan, I thought it would only make sense to add this film to my collection. At that time, no one had a concrete “Sean Bean theory,” which states that he needs to play a lead character in a project who dies. It wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense to me then, but wow, did I see the foundations being laid back then. 

I wish I could tell you that this was an amazing mystery drama, filled with a lot of action, since it does feature a handful of kidnaps, espionage, murder, and a race against time theme, but it just wasn’t anything spectacular. There seems to be a handful of people looking for answers, and even though all their stories are interconnected, the drama just isn’t compelling enough.

Don’t Say a Word is a textbook film, and the writers didn’t bother to colour outside the lines. The only reason why this film lingers in people’s minds is that it was one of Murphy’s best and most memorable roles. 4/10


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