DSAW - This is London - 21 Feb 02

Last Update: 23 February 2002

Shrink-wrapped for efficiency

Don't Say A Word (15)
Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean.
Dir: Gary Fleder.
US. 2001. 113mins. Rating: ***

by Alexander Walker

This is the week to take your analyst to the movies. After vetting A Beautiful Mind for text-book authenticity, he/she can relax with Michael Douglas turning theory into practice in this competent, though not outstanding, suspense thriller.

"The psychodynamics of compulsive stealing are well-established," says Dr Nathan Conrad (Douglas) to a kid who confesses to stealing panties. If only everything were that easy. Soon the good doctor finds his 11-year-old daughter kidnapped by Sean Bean's crowd, held captive until her dad can unlock the mind-set of a catatonic patient (Brittany Murphy) and retrieve the number of the grave in which is stashed a diamond the gang stole 10 years earlier. He has eight hours to crack the subconscious code: till then, he dare not say a word to the cops.

Proving himself The Fastest Shrink on the East Side, Douglas also demonstrates

a) unprofessional muscle power, b) extempore skills with high-speed boats, c) marital devotion to a wife (Famke Janssen) trapped in a plaster-cast leg in their apartment, and d) a tongue persuasive enough to get him through Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on his mercy dash.

It's one of those movies where the baddies are electronic whiz-kids and have planted eyes and ears on everyone everywhere. Not one fresh angle; but the plot's efficiently tangled, then brutally unravelled.

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