Silent Witness

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • R
  • Thriller

Dutch writer-directorcomposer Dick Maas's abortive, English-language bid for international acclain fell flat in Europe and went direct-to-vidoe in thr US. This hokey thriller trashes its own credibility by injecting humor into extremely inopportune scenes, notably situations involving an imperiled child. American pharmaceutical executive Walter (William...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Dutch writer-directorcomposer Dick Maas's abortive, English-language bid for international acclain fell flat in Europe and went direct-to-vidoe in thr US. This hokey thriller trashes its own credibility by injecting humor into extremely inopportune scenes, notably situations involving an imperiled child. American pharmaceutical executive Walter (William Hurt) takes a business trip to Amsterdam, accompanied by his wife, Cathryn (Jennifer Tilly), and their mute daughter, Melissa (Francesca Brown). Melissa makes a trip to the ladies' room at the hotel De L'Europe and gets separated from her folks. She wanders out of the hotel and onto the street, where Melissa witnesses the execution of Mr. Vandermolen (David Gwillim), the attorney representing Walter's Dutch client. Unfortunately, Melissa is spotted by hit man Nasty (Corey Johnson) and his employer, Mr. Hartman (Michael Chiklis), who turns out to be Walter's client. Hartman had Vandermolen killed to prevent him revealing the side effects of Hartman's new medication, which he's marketing to Walter's firm. Melissa finds temporary refuge with a homeless man, then eludes Hartman by stealing a police car, which she smashes into a bistro. Melissa is reunited with her parents at the hotel, but Walter innocently reveals to Hartman his daughter's recent adventures and whereabouts. Hartman tells Nasty where Melissa is, and Nasty pursues her from her room, down an elevator shaft and into the suite of pedophilic rock star Billy Boy Manson (Michael A.Goorjian), whom Nasty kills. Having escaped Billy Boy's clutches, Melissa eludes Nasty by climbing out onto a ledge and plunging into the canal below. But the poor child isn't even safe in an ambulance: Hartman carjacks it and drives off. Can Walter and the police stop Hartman from killing Melissa before she reveals what she knows about Vandermolen's murder? Maas's smart-ass attitude in no way improves this weakly conceived action thriller, which lurches from sloppy coincidences to blackly comedy touches — child molesting = not funny — and a crude homage to the central murder scene in the far-superior 1966 TORN CURTAIN, which isn't even considered one of Alfred Hitchcock's better films.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Dutch writer-directorcomposer Dick Maas's abortive, English-language bid for international acclain fell flat in Europe and went direct-to-vidoe in thr US. This hokey thriller trashes its own credibility by injecting humor into extremely inopportune scenes,… (more)

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