A cast that included Martin Sheen and Marlee Matlin made Hear No Evil appear promising. Sheen is too little used to be very effective, and Matlin’s acting is often overshadowed by a director too eager for use to experience her deafness. I always found that her strength was the power of her performance in spite of the handicap. This film goes to excessive lengths to remind us she is deaf, just in case we happen to miss the point. Often the soundtrack goes silent, apparently to portray the action from Matlin’s point of view. Instead, the technique is overused to the point of distraction.
The story is thin and the running time too long. The plot never really develops into anything more than a drawn-out cat and mouse game. It’s sad, but the best thing I got from the film was learning how to say asshole in sign. Too bad the director wasn’t around for me to practice my new skill.
Brock (Sheen) is a corrupt cop who has hired a thug to steal a valuable coin from him. Through a series of unlikely events the coin comes to be possessed by deaf personal trainer Jillian (Matlin). Jillian is unaware she has the coin. She seeks refuge with the friend of a client who passed the coin to her. Now Brock must get rid of anyone who might know his secret and recover the coin.
A simple Dolby Digital 2.0 track is all this film deserves and all that it gets. Music is sparse so there is no need for incredible dynamic range here. Even without a lot of competition dialogue is often lost. High-end sounds are often a touch distorted. Screams are downright fuzzy.
You get two options on Hear No Evil. There is an edited 1.33:1 full frame version. The obviously superior 1.85:1 transfer can be found on the flip side of this dual sided DVD. There is a lot of grain and surface noise on this print. I did not see the original, so it is hard to tell if the flaws lie with the original print or this transfer. My guess is a little bit of both. Color is reminiscent of a 1970’s made for TV film. Everything is pretty soft. Contrast is perhaps the high point of this transfer. I found the darks to be relatively detailed except for the already mentioned grain.
Only a trailer.
I suppose this one might be considered a romantic crime drama. If you’re into that sort of thing you might be better prepared to deal with the film’s obvious flaws and slow pace. This was an early 1990’s film originally. If you want to see Sheen and Matlin together with finer results you should pick up some West Wing episodes. As for this film, mostly I found it to contain “the usual crap”.