ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Don't Say A Word (2001), R
Analysis Date: September 29, 2001
CAP Score: 48
CAP Influence Density: 1.65

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

DON'T SAY A WORD (R) -- kinda says something about "mother" doesn't it?

*Don't Say a Word* is probably what I should do since it has been so long since I've seen this show. Thankfully, the actual findings and scoring are not dependent on my remembering a movie, the recording logs provide for the findings and scoring. But I will try to give you all I can remember about this movie in a summary in commentary format.

Michael Douglas is Dr. Nathan Conrad, M.D., Ph. D. A Manhattan expert in psycho-analysis of mentally deranged people. He is sought to find a number locked away in the head of apparently mad Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy, who might very well have been the best performer in this movie). Dr. Louis Sachs (Oliver Platt) has turned charge of Elisabeth's care over to Dr. Conrad since Sachs cannot help the girl.

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Some very bad people, headed by Koster (Sean Bean) and aided by Max (Conrad Goode) and Dolen (Guy Torry), want the number hidden in her id. So badly they kidnap D. Conrad's little girl, Jessie. And where is Jessie's mother, Aggie (Famke Janssen) in all this? So formidable is a mother that the screenwriters had her disabled and in bed with a broken leg -- in a position to have to watch all that happens but unable to do anything, at least until the breaking point when Aggie kicks the whatever out of one of the bad guys who does not survive her wrath, all with a broken leg. Though a fantasy based on a book, it kinda says something about "mother" doesn't it?

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Conrad is given instructions by cell phone how to retrieve his daughter. Step by step by step. Part of the instructions was "don't say a word." Just do as told. Galloping around Manhattan as instructed, Conrad tries to find time to find the number the bad guys were looking for in Elisabeth's head. The six-digit number locked in Elisabeth's head will lead the one who discovers it to the hiding place of a $10 million diamond stolen earlier from a bank then stolen by trickery from Koster and company who get caught.
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Somehow in the middle of all this, Elisabeth discovers the number at the cost of her father's life. I guess that would send any caring daughter into madness, even if feigned as in this case. Since her father is dead, no one but Elisabeth knows the number. No one. No one alive anyway. If Elisabeth's dead father could talk from his grave... And as all this is going on, NYC Detective Sandra Cassidy (Jennifer Esposito) working on a separate case gets mixed up in the fray.

With the diamond still out there, waiting to be had the story jumps 10 years to reveal Elisabeth has been in mental institution after institution, to end up under Sachs' care. Koster and company first terrorize Sachs and his loved ones to get the number, but when Sachs turns Elisabeth over to Conrad, Koster focuses on Conrad and his family. A sort of musical family. Any way to get that number. Koster has been waiting 10 years to get it and will stop at nothing to do so.

One very clever part of the choreography was when Aggie developed an itch under her cast, she searched for something to feed down the cast to the itch. The tool was a large knitting needle which became a quite effective weapon of self defense.

I remember that there are several subplots to keep track of, typical of the Douglas genre. But there are other issues with which the parent/grandparent is likely to be concerned. There are a number of graphic murders [Deut. 5:17] among a ton of other issues of violence [Isa. 13:11] plus a liberal sprinkling of foul language [Col. 3:8]. Some sexual programming was present such as innuendo and a skit about a man watching Aggie hoping for her to strip so he could watch. But the greatest issues of invasion of righteousness, in my *very* biased opinion, was the kidnapping of Jessie [Matt. 18:10; Matt. 25:40; Job 34:22; Rev. 21:8] and using her for evil gain [Hab. 2:9].


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  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise [kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: 1) to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of] not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. [From Jesus' own lips, this one is kinda scary, huh? Well, it should be. Abba is watching. And remembering.]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Job 34:22 There is no dark place, no deep shadow, where evildoers can hide.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Don't Say A Word (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • reckless driving - repeatedly
  • armed robbery
  • many firearm threats
  • deaths by explosion in city streets
  • dead bodies
  • brutal slicings of flesh
  • display of mental infirmity
  • multiple abrasion injuries and other graphic injuries
  • defensive killing, graphic - repeatedly
  • breaking and enterings with property damage
  • kidnapping of a child
  • threats to kill a child
  • graphic death pictures
  • reckless endangerment
  • physical attacks/beatings/assaults, some brutal
  • assault, threat with drugs
  • abrasive cop
  • brutality
  • knife threat
  • stalking to kill
  • facial beating
  • murder victim
  • images of chasing to kill - repeatedly
  • brutal beating
  • theft
  • manhandling a little girl - repeatedly
  • manhandling a teen girl
  • threat with fire
  • threat to kill with gun to head
  • gunfire to kill - repeatedly
  • a fight for life
  • gunfire killing, defensive
  • gunfire injuries

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 25 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • 14 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • "Anybody who tells you they don't are lying"
  • white lie
  • lie to gain privilege

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sex joke
  • suggestive eye movement
  • female nudity, dead body - repeatedly
  • self touch to sexually excite
  • vulgarity
  • spoken desire for woman to strip

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • booze
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 4 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • murder (unseen)
  • murder
  • gunfire murder
  • defensive murder, buried alive

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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