Review: ‘Hear No Evil’

Aterminally dull, pointless would-be thriller, "Hear No Evil" has a perfunctory story with the gimmick of a deaf damsel in distress grafted on uncertainly. Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin's talents are wasted.

Aterminally dull, pointless would-be thriller, “Hear No Evil” has a perfunctory story with the gimmick of a deaf damsel in distress grafted on uncertainly. Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin’s talents are wasted.

She plays a physical trainer in Portland whose client John C. McGinley hides a rare stolen coin in her beeper before being nabbed by the cops.

McGinley’s car blows up and corrupt cop Martin Sheen starts harassing Matlin to retrieve the coin.

McGinley’s pal D.B. Sweeney takes Matlin under his wing and duo finally bring in the FBI to catch Sheen.

There’s a lame-duck final twist to this trivial story, but by then nearly all TV viewers will have tuned out.

At least in theaters, where the film opened without press screenings, the audience is trapped into sticking this one out.

Director Robert Greenwald and his scripters evidence zero knowledge of suspense, nuance or even elementary thrills as the villain and nearly all story particulars are laid out in the opening minutes.

In the final reel Matlin has a cat & mouse sequence trapped in a mountain lodge with the killer, but unlike such effective films as “Wait Until Dark,” her handicap (deafness) is not used as an equalizer but rather merely increases her jeopardy.

Supporting cast, particularly Sheen as the zero-dimensional villain, performs with little involvement.

Matlin is sexy but not given a chance at characterization.

Film’s technical credits are subpar in an obvious B-movie exercise to fill out Fox’s release schedule with a minimum of effort or commitment.

Hear No Evil

(Thriller -- Color)

Production

A 20th Century Fox release of a David Matalon production. Produced by Matalon. Directed by Robert Greenwald. Executive producer, David Streit. Screenplay, R.M. Badat, Kathleen Rowell, based on story by Badat, Danny Rubin.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Steven Shaw; editor, Eva Gardos; music, Graeme Revell; sound (Dolby), Mark Ulano; production design, Bernt Capra; art direction, John Myhre; set decoration, Susan Mina Eschelbach; costume design, Fleur Thiemeyer; assistant director, Aaron Barsky, David Womark; production manager, Streit; stunt coordinator, Greg Elam; 2nd unit camera, John Campbell; casting, Glenn Daniels, Jean Medley (Portland). Reviewed at Bay Cinema, N.Y., March 26, 1993. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 97 min.

With

Jillian Shanahan ... Marlee Matlin Ben Kendall ... D.B. Sweeney Lt. Brock ... Martin Sheen Mickey O'Malley ... John C. McGinley Grace ... Christina Carlisi Cooper ... Greg Elam Wiley ... Charley Lang Mrs. Kendall ... Marge Redmond Tim Washington ... Billie Worley

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