*½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B+
starring Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Famke Janssen, Sean Bean
screenplay by Anthony Peckham and Patrick Smith Kelly, based on the novel by Andrew Klavan
directed by Gary Fleder
by Walter Chaw It's probably not at all surprising that lock-step director Gary Fleder's Don't Say a Word, based on a by-the-numbers novel by fiction hack Andrew Klavan (True Crime), has less original material than Michael Jackson. It opens on a heist scene that reminds of Point Break and Heat (plus a thousand other heist films), segues into a home invasion/child-snatching that recalls Michael Douglas's own Fatal Attraction, proceeds into a cell phone cat-and-mouse like Ransom, ends with a cascade of particulate debris that brings to mind Witness, and touches base to varying degrees with Sliver, Nick of Time, Instinct, Nuts, and Awakenings in particular in its sloppy patient/doctor dynamic (and the naming of a secondary character "Dr. Sachs"). There's even a bit concerning a stolen child, a mother, and a song familiar to them both taken whole from Hitchcock's remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much. Sadly, Don't Say a Word forgets to first establish that the tune is meaningful. It is a poignant omission that illustrates as well as any the problems of a lazy knock-off film that plays a lot of familiar notes but doesn't once strike a chord nor find a melody of its own.