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By Jim Agnew | January 23, 2004

There’s an old saying in filmmaking. It states that you should never tell anything on screen if you can show it instead. Unfortunately writer director Hurt McDermott didn’t pay any heed to this when making “Nightingale In A Music Box.” McDermott’s background involves playwrighting and that’s maybe where the problem lies.

“Nightingale” is the story of a woman that’s lost her memory. She may or may not be working as a corporate spy. Did she or didn’t she attempt to steal banned technology that, if in the wrong hands, could change the world (for the worse) forever.

The film starts off with a good scene in which the woman with no memory is interrogated by a former Cold War spy named Burke. It’s Burke’s job to find out what’s happened to the woman and her past. But from there on it’s all down hill, or should I say it’s all just talk.

“Nightingale” takes us from one slow and laborious talk-fest to another. The opening scene is followed by a psychotherapy session. After that there’s another meeting, which is followed by more talking and then another therapy session, which is in turned followed by the lead character talking to her kids and then going to sleep.

I’m sure the filmmakers ambitiously set out to create an intricate intelligent, techno-thriller, but what they ended up with was a 96-minute celluloid sleeping pill. McDermott has clearly shown us what the difference is between a stage play and a film, a lot of talk.

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