DSAW - AZ - 07 Jan 02

Last Update: 23 February 2002

Translated by Evi Finsterer

"Das verhängnisvolle Schweigen der Opfer"

The fatal silence of the victims

The voice on the phone presses: "Don't say a word!" New York psychiatrist Dr. Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) has to deal with professionals. His 8 year old daughter has been kidnapped, his wife (Famke Janssen) has one of her legs in a cast and can't move - and the apartment is controlled by
surveillance cameras. If the Conrads want to have their daughter back alive they must not alarm the police. And Nathan has to get a number code from his totally distraced 18 year old patient. But Elizabeth (Brittany Murphy, a real discovery) who is physically and psychically tortured, remains silent.
Time flies: Nathan has only one day to deliver those numbers to the blackmailer (Sean Bean).

Gary Fleder who had graduated in Boston, director of "Things to do in Denver when you're Dead", puts his faith in speed, surprising cuttings and attentive composition of the shots for the film adaptation of Andrew Klavan's bestselling novel. Nathan is catapulted out of his harmonic family life into chaos, violence and despair. In the world of the sick and the dead he learns about his own dark side (here is Douglas in his best form).

Director Fleder occasionally manages to create suspense like Hitchcock, but loses his way in too much action and underplots. Best parts of the thriller are those sequences where Nathan wins Elizabeth as an accomplice and solves her childhood trauma. Ten years ago Elizabeth had been witness to the death of her father, who had betrayed his comrades in a robbery, of a million worth diamond. She had smuggled her doll (containing the diamond) into his grave. And the grave is only marked with a six-digit number.

Gary Fleder takes the risk to switch between the reality of the present and some flashbacks. At least there is some hope, that after the showdown at the cemetery, Elizabeth won't stay a victim forever.

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