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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Hear No Evil (1993)

"I don't know if she knows it or not, but she's got it."
- Brock (Martin Sheen)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 14, 2004

Stars: Marlee Matlin, Martin Sheen, D.B. Sweeney
Other Stars: John C.McGinley, Christina Carlisi, Greg Elam, Charley Lang
Director: Robert Greenwald

Manufacturer: PDMC
MPAA Rating: R for (violence, language, brief nudity)
Run Time: 01h:36m:40s
Release Date: September 07, 2004
UPC: 024543128366
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C-B-B D

DVD Review

Director Robert Greenwald's varied film career—including such disparate projects as Xanadu, The Burning Bed, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism—also includes this clunky deaf-girl-in-peril flick from 1993, starring Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. Hear No Evil looks like an amalgam of not only different films, but of different mediums, with occasional bits of substantive violence and action stuck between stiff made-for-TV dialogue and tedious, simplistic plot points.

Matlin plays Jillian, a marathon runner who teams up with rock-climbing bar owner Ben Kendall (D.B. Sweeney) to stay one step ahead of corrupt and violent cop Brock (Martin Sheen), who is looking for a stolen coin. The missing coin ends up in Jillian's possession, though of course she doesn't know it, because it was secretly stashed in her pager by paranoid reporter Mickey O'Malley (John C. McGinley).

What follows is a fairly pointless exercise in suspense steeped in foreshadowing, with Sheen's hammy histrionics all but ruining any level of acceptable believability, because we're supposed to accept that his character runs the Portland police like his own private fiefdom, complete with an endless supply of grim-faced thug underlings. Greenwald does try to spice things up slightly during the final act, though it is purely by-the-numbers stuff, with Matlin's Jillian having to pant, shriek, scream, and sweat her way to safety.

Oddly enough the most enjoyable parts of Hear No Evil are the non-action scenes between Sweeney and Matlin, as their characters develop a cute little relationship, with the added nuance of Matlin's deafness making things like a burgeoning romance even more difficult. Sweeney's initially clueless Ben TALKS LOUDER to her at first, as if that will help him communicate with a deaf person, but when we eventually catch him watching sign language instructional videos we know he's a darn nice guy after all, even if he wants to know the signs for "horny" and "orgasm".

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Fox has included both full-frame 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers on this double-sided disc. The print itself is in fine shape, with no major blemishes to contend with. Colors are deep and evenly rendered, though black levels fall off and get a bit thick during some night sequences.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Hear No Evil has one of those fairly aggressive and active 2.0 surround tracks that is surprisingly robust, utilizing the rear channels quite often, and generally to pretty good effect. Ambient sounds and music cues rise up nicely from the back at the proper times, and when balanced with the clean dialogue the whole presentation exceeded my initial minimal expectations by a wide margin.

A Spanish stereo track is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras other than a theatrical trailer for the feature, subtitles in English and Spanish, and 16 chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would have much rather watched a film about D.B. Sweeney and Marlee Matlin falling in love, minus all the corrupt cop crapola. Their interaction together, when not being stalked by killers or scaling houses, is easy to watch, though there is just too little of that here.


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