Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tell No One (Ne Le Dis À Personne)

Tell No One (in French with English subtitles) is a taut and gripping thriller based on the best-selling novel of the same name from American author Harlan Coben. Dr. Alexandre Beck is a Paris pediatrician whose wife Margot is murdered at the film’s onset after the two go skinny dipping in the secluded lake where they fell in love as children. Alex is left unconscious during the attack and wakes to find himself in the hospital and to the news that Margot was murdered by a local serial killer and her body found and identified by her retired Police Chief father.

Eight years later, Alex has moved on from the police’s original suspicions of him and become a caring doctor though still haunted by his love and loss. On the eve of the anniversary date of Margot’s death the police notify him that two male bodies were found buried near the lake forcing the police to reopen the case and raise once again lingering unanswered questions from the night of Margot’s death such as who placed the anonymous 911 call for help and if Alex was knocked unconscious and thrown back in the lake during his failed attempt to rescue Margot how did he make it out of the water and onto the dock.

As if this wasn’t enough, Alex makes another earth rattling discovery when he receives an email with a subject line that only Margot would’ve known. The message provides simple instructions to click on the provided link on the anniversary date at 6:15 pm and when he does the image shocks him to the core for there on the screen is footage from a surveillance camera showing a woman with a remarkable resemblance to Margot. Additional instructions warn of telling no one, with an ominous warning that they’re watching. Is the woman Margot and if so, how is she alive?

As Alex begins to ask questions and dig into his wife’s final days, the police are hot on his heels for one of the bodies held a key to a safe deposit box which held pictures of a bruised and battered Margot as well as a gun previously belonging to Alex’s father. When a friend of Margot which Alex had recently questioned turns up dead, he becomes a wanted man running from the police. Has he admitted his guilt in running or is he merely a man desperate for answers and determined to find the truth?

I absolutely loved this film! It was a brilliant, riveting and edge of your seat thrill ride. From the first scene to near the last, the filmmaker laid before us an intricate puzzle to solve and masterfully and meticulously revealed the puzzle piece locations on the board so that by the end of the film every piece fit seamlessly together; no loose threads, no questions unanswered; and with enough twists and turns in this spellbinding tale to both shock and awe.

Tell No One is a psychological thriller and mystery but the action doesn’t fall far behind with one particularly heart-pounding, adrenaline fueling foot chase sequence that absolutely takes your breath away. The revelations and twists abound so that like Dr. Beck the viewer is always in doubt of the current narrator’s honesty. The plot is airtight and like vital cogs in a wheel each and every character in the tale, lead or supporting, add the perfect measure of substance and weight to keep the story moving forward to its utterly satisfying conclusion.

While the storytelling, casting and filming are of the highest caliber, it’s the brilliant acting from French actor François Cluzet in the main role of Dr. Beck which gives the tale heart and humanity. Cluzet’s performance is pivotal to our (we the viewers) belief that this man would move heaven and earth to find the love of his life and he totally delivers. His handsome face and every nuance of his performance movingly convey his feelings (heartache, love, devotion, hope and anger). It came as no surprise to learn after I viewed the film that Cluzet won the César Award (equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Actor for this role.

On the caliber of some of Hitchcock’s best suspense films, Tell No One is a film that in its brilliance demands that you tell everyone about it, because not doing so would be criminal.