Saturday, 30 June 2012

filmbore pick of the week - Tell No One

Tell No One (Ne Le Dis À Personne)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Screenplay: Guillaume Canet, Philippe Lefebvre 
Starring: François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott-Thomas
Year: 2006
Language: French
UK rental release: October 2007

Rotten Tomatoes

What would you do if your partner was murdered several years ago, the authorities have suddenly decided that you are a key suspect and you find clues that may contradicate all the facts? Tell No One is here to answer this...

Guillaume Canet has been a major french movie star since the mid-90s (you may recognise him as Ètienne from The Beach), but besides dabbling with a few short films here and there, it wasn't until the 00's that he decided to direct full-length feature films. Tell No One is his second outing behind the camera and, with Philippe Lefebvre, he has crafted a superb adaptation of Harlen Coban's novel of the same name.

Pediatrician Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet, The Intouchables, Little White Lies) has had to deal with the loss of his murdered wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) for eight years, but suddenly bodies found at the lake where she was taken from him point evidence to Alexandre as the killer.  Simultaneously, he receives a mysterious email containing a link to surveillance video footage of what appears to be Margot, looking older than her last living day!

It sounds a little complicated and hard to stomach, but this is not how this film handles itself. Though it is promoted as complex thriller you'll be pleasantly suprised that Tell No One doesn't play out like this. What's delivered is a competently directed smooth blend of thriller, drama and light-comedy, all neatly sewn together by the partnership of intrigue and love. In fact, it's these last two elements that feed the emotional journey and actions of our leading character.

François Cluzet is perfect casting as the lead for this story, which is vital as it is his character on screen throughout. As each scene unfolds, and new information is presented to him, it's hard to imagine what Alexandre Beck would do in each circumstance. There are sometimes subtle flecks of reaction to some dialogues, where out-of-the-blue he will instinctivly erupt and do whatever's necessary to upend the mystery one step further. But what is evident is that however powerful or minimal his respost, François Cluzet conducts the role with delicate precision.
However, we must not forget some great performances from the overall supporting cast, especially from André Dussollier (a regular from films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet) as the father-in-law and one of the UK's finest actresses, Kristin Scott-Thomas as the sister's lesbian-lover Hélène, who assists Alexandre in his investigations. Both command their smaller parts with a rawness that could have overpowered the film, but Guillame has managed to lace their parts into the tapestry to give the story strength without overbearing it.

These relationships become vital to uncovering the foundations of what could be a conspiracy against Alexandre, professed to us in fragments as the tale unfolds. In fact, one pivotal, sweet moment of discovery has (in my opinion) one of the best uses of popular music ever in film...even if it is U2!

The gradual swell of disclosures, with a hefty affirmation near the end of the final act, lead to a touching final scene that both binds the story into a whole and teases you to watch it all over again. It's a complete picture, that is worth discovering for anybody that wants a mixture of excitement, conundrums and fine acting, all bundled up in a narrative driven by a man still fuelled by the love he still carries for the woman he has lost.

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