Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Tell No One

Review by David Tredler

French cinema can easily be associated to arthouse films that do not necessarily excite the cinematic appetite of the average moviegoer, who is greedy for some meaty action. And yet, it only takes a trip into Tell No One (“Ne le dis à personne” in French) to come to the conclusion that France can also deliver in the thriller genre.

Eight years ago, Alex Beck’s wife was brutally murdered. Since then, the Parisian doctor has not really managed to get his life back on track, still mourning and finding consolation in alcohol. Until one day, when the police reopens the case and suspects the innocent Alex of the crime, he receives an email that sends him the link to a video. On this live video, a woman getting out of the subway: his wife, alive.

If this sounds familiar to you, maybe you have read Harlan Coben’s novel “Tell No One” a few years back, when it interested Hollywood studios, yet failed to greenlight a film adaptation, while young French actor/director Guillaume Canet successfully courted the author to let him translate his literary thriller on the silver screen. The result of Canet’s hard work can hardly be regarded as anything else but a success. Far from many French filmmakers’ inability to develop action, tension and effectiveness and cling to it for two hours, Canet creates a palpable suspense with few defects.

An intense drama and gripping chase of an innocent man by the police, Tell No One only scarcely leaves you time to breathe through some altogether intense moments of emotion (so well underlined by a beautiful score and the clever use of songs by Jeff Buckley and U2). Though this whole story sometimes seems improbable, it is told and filmed with such passion, performed with such intensity by the troupe of French actors (François Cluzet, which portrays Alex Beck, deservedly won the Cesar for Best Actor for this role), that the spree it creates invariably sucks you into it.

If you sometimes dream and wonder what a Hitchcockian scenario would look like if it was handled by a young, contemporary, talented, energic filmmaker, Tell No One might give you an idea.

4 /5 stars

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