French Film ‘Tell No One’ a Journey of Mystery Down Road of Twists, Turns

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Average: 4.1 (16 votes) Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The most perfect description for the new French suspense film “Tell No One” comes from the most unlikely source: a 1957 American film called “Sweet Smell of Success”.

Describing one of the characters in that film, one line observes that he has “more twists than a barrel of pretzels”. Take that barrel and put it through the zigzag of a taffy-pulling machine and those results might be able to straighten out the labyrinth of circumstances in “Tell No One”.

Francois Cluzet (right) and Marie-Josee Croze as Margot in Tell No One
François Cluzet (right) and Marie-Josée Croze as Margot in “Tell No One”.
Photo credit: Music Box Films

François Cluzet portrays Alex Beck: a physician whose wife, Margot, is murdered when they are celebrating an anniversary at a remote lake. Though injured in the attack, Beck emerges from a coma having to clear his name as a suspect and mournfully bury his beloved partner.

Francois Cluzet (right) and Kristin Scott Thomas in Tell No One
François Cluzet (right) and Kristin Scott Thomas in “Tell No One”.
Photo credit: Music Box Films

Eight years later and before gathering traditionally with Margot’s family to mark the day of the tragedy, Beck receives an e-mail message.

The message instructs him to link to a special address that seems to be a current video image of his dead wife. At the same time, three bodies are recovered from the attack site. This focuses attention back toward the widowed doctor as a possible suspect in his wife’s murder.

As the forces of police and legal authorities assemble and the mysterious Internet messages continue, Beck finds himself on the run. With the involvement of a wily lawyer, his wife’s family and a criminally connected but grateful patient, the mystery of the reappearing spouse may have a chance to be solved.

It really is impossible to describe the events of this film. Due to the details and players, it requires the precise attention of the actual experience. Suffice it to say “Tell No One” is a modern thriller that uses the Internet as an information distiller to provide the clues while at the same time fulfilling its role as a pervasive big brother.

The old fashion chase sequence is the highlight in Beck’s pursuit. The probability of a single individual on foot outrunning an entire squadron of police cars is perfectly choreographed and logically surmised.

StarView our full, high-resolution “Tell No One” image gallery.

StarMore film reviews from critic Patrick McDonald.

This sequence also provides essential empathy for the underdog that Beck is – a lone individual seemingly against all the forces of law and societal control.

What’s the force of evil that motivates all the attention toward one grieving doctor?

This is where the intricacies of the plot become convoluted through to the conclusion. In conventional mystery, there is the “ah-ha!” moment where the answers are unmasked. In this twisty film, though, the “ah-ha!” comes with a “now who is this guy?” This distraction softens the revealing moment.

While writer and director Guillaume Canet weaves too much into the cloth of the story, it’s nonetheless entertaining and substantial material. In the cruel world of Beck’s loss, the convergence of memory and love still has the power to forge eventual truth.

“Tell No One,” which features François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, Kristin Scott Thomas, André Dussollier, Nathalie Baye and Marina Hands, opened in Chicago on July 11, 2008 at the Music Box Theatre. staff writer Patrick McDonald

Staff Writer

© 2008 Patrick McDonald,

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