Dead Silence (1997)

20% – Critics
51% – Audience

Dead Silence Storyline

Three escaped convicts from prison take a group of deaf students hostage and hold them captive to keep the authorities at bay. FBI agent John Potter (James Garner) leads the FBIs hostage rescue team in their efforts to get the kids released without harm and also to capture the escapees. The children’s teacher Melanie (Marlee Matlin), uses sign language to assist the agents in expediting surrender of the convicts.—Richard Jones

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Dead Silence Movie Reviews

A basic crime/action film with guts. James Garner makes it work.

“Dead Silence” was something of an unexpected pleasure for me. As far as TV movies go, this is pretty impressive. James Garner offers up an exceptionally engaging characterization, and it was a pleasure to see actors like Charles Martin Smith and Lolita Davidovich. Kim Coates is appropriately menacing as the bad guy.

The story is fairly standard, sure, but it doesn’t quite get ridiculous until the final act. It was as if a more hands-off crime story wasn’t enough for the screenwriters and they decided that it needed a good deal more action to spice things up. That move was largely a mistake. Daniel Petrie Jr. does good enough as director. I like the general look and feel of the film.

I enjoyed “Dead Silence”. It’s a hard film to dislike, one of the rare sort of action films that are neither especially challenging nor insultingly bad. Anyone should be able to get some entertainment out of this.

A pair of jokers

Dead Silence stars James Garner and Marlee Matlin about a hostage standoff in upstate New York on the Canadian border. The story takes place right near where I live in Buffalo though it was actually filmed in Canada. Those river rapids could definitely be the Niagara River.

Kim Coates, James Villemaire, and Gary Basaraba play criminals who have escaped from prison and the phrase ‘armed and extremely dangerous’ doesn’t begin to describe the situation. Especially Coates who has one sick criminal mind, but as we find out is not as crazy as we’re first led to believe.

In their escape the three cons take a busload of deaf children and their teacher Marlee Matlin hostage. Garner plays the FBI hostage negotiator who has been the subject of a lot of controversy as a similar situation left a lot of dead bodies and he’s got disgruntled agents in his own ranks.

This one is both action and tension filled and when you think it is over it most definitely is not. Coates has a pair of jokers in the cards he’s dealing out.

Garner is cool, calm, and collected despite a lot of provocation. Watch out for a nice performance by Lolita Davidovitch who has some surprises herself.

For fans of the principal cast members for sure and for those who like tension filled dramas.

Treat for Deaver lovers

If you’re a fan of Jeffery Deaver novels then you will have read ‘A Maiden’s Grave’.

And you will not be dissappointed by this screen interpretation of the novel.

It sticks closely to the plot.

The screenplay is crisp and clear and the characters well portrayed.

A group of deaf students and their teacher have their bus highjacked by three escaped criminals and they are then held hostage in an old slaughterhouse.

The duel between the seasoned hostage negotiator (played by James Garner) and the hostage takers is superbly crafted.

There is an added twist at the end.

If you’ve read the book you will love every minute, if you haven’t then you will still enjoy an excellent thriller.

Well done.