The new French thriller, Tell No One, recalls the superlative Harrison Ford vehicle, The Fugitive, the haunting original Dutch version of The Vanishing and even some works by Hitchcock.
It’s got a great, mostly English, soundtrack that includes several soul hits; cool supporting characters; a great cast; and an awesome, highly naturalistic chase sequence.
If that’s enticing enough, simply go see it and read no further.
The joy of a fast-paced, complex mystery/thriller such as Tell No One is largely had in processing the information as it comes rushing headlong at you. Thus, every little bit you already know is one less pleasure to be had.
Tell No One is directed by Guillaume Canet (My Idol), who also wrote its smart, nearly airtight script with Philippe Lefebvre. The script is based on the book by famed American crime novelist Harlan Coben, but includes several major changes, one of which is a transatlantic resetting in Paris.
Our protagonist is pediatrician Alexandre Beck, played by the stellar François Cluzet (The Adversary, Four Stars). At the film’s opening, Alexandre and his wife, Margo (Marie-Josée Croze), head to the lake where they used to play as childhood sweethearts, as in love then as they are now. They splash each other, do silly stripper dances and kiss. At night, nude and under a full moon, the couple gets into a minor argument. Margot dives into the black water and swims to the dock on the opposite side of the lake. And then Alexandre hears a muffled cry. When he reaches the dock he is suddenly struck and knocked unconscious.
Eight years later, Alexandre receives an e-mail that includes a video of what looks to be Margot, very much alive despite the fact that she was supposed to have been killed that night at the lake. This launches Alexandre into a rapidly accelerating quest for the truth—a quest that comes to involve a kindhearted Parisian thug, a memorably brutal female assassin and a stoic detective.
The love story aspect of Tell No One is somewhat cheesy at points, but, as a mystery/thriller, it’s quite an accomplishment. That is, except for one major strain on the audience’s suspension of disbelief.
Warning: Extreme Spoiler Alert (This WILL ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it!). Because Tell No One, the novel, was written nearly a decade ago and the story was set some years earlier, it makes sense that Margot wouldn’t have learned that her supposedly dead husband was alive. But, in this, the age of Google, it’s highly, highly unrealistic that, for eight years, she wouldn’t have figured this out, even if she absconded to a different country. This illogicality was, for this viewer, seriously distracting.
Tell No One
Directed by Guillaume Canet
Written by Guillaume Canet and Philippe Lefebvre, based on the novel by Harlan Coben
With François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Marina Hands and Jean Rochefort