Don't Say a word
What, exactly, is the problem with grabbing Elisabeth and thumping on her until she talks?
We know Dr. Nathan Conrad is a great psychiatrist because at the beginning of the movie, he tells a male teenage patient that masturbation is perfectly normal and that everyone does it and we, the audience, think to ourselves, "Wow, what a sympathetic guy." He even explains to the kid how to clean his keyboard off after one too many visits to www.he8teenbeaver.com.
Conrad's wife, Aggie (Famke Janssen) is laid up in bed with a broken leg and their daughter, Jesse (Skye McCole Bartusiak), likes to play hide-and-seek games when Daddy gets home. Daddy comes home and Jesse is hiding in a closet. This provides director Gary ("Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead") Fleder the perfect opportunity to run the camera around their New York apartment in a particularly menacing way right after the girl is kidnapped by Patrick Koster (Sean Bean). This situation also allows Koster to terrorize Aggie while Nathan is away at the psychiatric hospital trying to convince a new patient, Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), to cough up some number that will allow Koster to find a particularly valuable jewel.
The history of this gem is extraordinarily convoluted. Elisabeth is the daughter of one of Koster's former partners, and she watched Pop get offed when he wouldn't talk. To thwart her capture, she's pretended to be insane and moved from hospital to hospital her whole childhood. Dr. Conrad figures this out in about five seconds, because he's under phenomenal pressure lest his daughter be killed, and such observations just come naturally to people in situations like that.
Koster and his criminal buddies have staked out Conrad's apartment and the hospital so perfectly that you wonder why they can't just get the damn number out of her themselves. They don't seem to have too many qualms about threatening Dr. Conrad's family, so what, exactly, is the problem with grabbing Elisabeth and thumping on her until she talks? No matter where Nathan goes, it seems there's a camera or a microphone. The apartment is totally decked out with them, and there's even a listening device in the vent in Elisabeth's psychiatric hospital room. Hey, guys, while you were in the room installing the microphone, how about grabbing the girl harboring your big, important secret? SHE WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE. Nobody noticed you crawling around in the ductwork, I doubt they're going to see you grab some mental patient. Lord knows they didn't notice when somebody snatched the competent scriptwriter.
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