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Blu-ray Review: ‘Tell No One’ Ranks as One of the Decade’s Finest Thrillers
CHICAGO – There is a moment in Guillaume Canet’s “Tell No One” when protagonist Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet) is forced to run. The police are hot on his trail and have cornered him at his office, where he serves as a pediatrician. But before the cops burst through the door, Alex sails out his window, breaks his fall with a car roof and runs as fast as his feet can cary him.
This pulse-pounding moment occurs about midway through Canet’s 2006 mystery, and quickly unspools into one of the greatest sustained chase sequences in film history, proving that stunt work and in-camera effects will always trump any brand of digital trickery. Yet that is only one of countless highlights in this splendidly entertaining masterpiece of suspense. It was the sixth film distributed by Music Box Films, and ended up becoming one of their biggest hits, which is hardly surprising considering how well the film holds up on repeat viewings.
Blu-ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Alex is the sort of wrongly accused everyman that Hitchcock used to love, and Cluzet, best known for starring in Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s phenomenally successful dramedy, “The Intouchables,” is a dead ringer for Dustin Hoffman circa 1987. That also happens to be the precise year U2 recorded their haunting classic, “With Or Without You,” which is brought to thrilling new life in a small yet pivotal scene that operates on the same Hitchcockian principles of pure cinema. The picture opens in warmth and laughter as Alex and his wife, Margot (Marie-Josée Croze), ogle each other from across a table, their eyes dazzled by the possibilities of their future together. Yet their subsequent evening of skinny dipping is interrupted by a faceless attacker. After Alex regains consciousness, he realizes that his wife has been murdered. Cut to eight years later, as two bodies are discovered at the scene of the crime, thus reopening the case and implicating Alex as a prime suspect. That’s when the tormented doctor receives an anonymous e-mail in his inbox linking to a video of Margot—older, mournful, vaguely frightened…apparently still alive. This is a supremely tantalizing premise for an A-grade nail-biter, and co-writers Canet and Philippe Lefebvre (adapting Harlan Coben’s bestseller) milk it for all it’s worth.
Tell No One was released on Blu-ray on December 4th, 2012.
Photo credit: Music Box Films
To say more plot-wise would be considered a crime punishable by several viewings of “Taken 2.” Like many an enervated Hollywood blockbuster, “Tell No One” does stick to a formulaic structure, but Canet manages to make even the hairpin turns and inevitable big reveals crackle with exhilarating freshness. The camera elegantly follows characters as they sneak around corners and sprint through cafés in a series of tracking shots that never draw unwelcome attention to cinematographer Christophe Offenstein’s exquisite technique. André Dussollier delivers a superbly modulated performance as Margot’s embittered father, while Kristen Scott Thomas steals scenes as the concerned wife of Alex’s sister, Anne (Marina Hands). It all leads to a final act stuffed with revelations that Canet wisely conveys through hypnotic dialogue and chilling flashbacks rather than perfunctory exposition. If George Sluizer’s “The Vanishing” abandoned its nightmarish logic in favor of “North by Northwest”-style set-pieces, red herrings and escapist euphoria, it would’ve looked something like this.
“Tell No One” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by French and English audio tracks and includes over a half-hour of deleted scenes, many of which offer intriguing added beats to scenes left in the final cut, such as Alex’s amusing appointment with a studious young patient. There’s also nearly an hour of behind the scenes footage that features an extended look at the production of Alex’s jaw-dropping stroll through traffic. Neither Bourne nor Bond could’ve crafted it better.