TELL NO ONE is a spine tingling masterpiece of barely repressed tension.

It grips you in its wake from the first few scenes and never lets up until the final frames dissolve.

ALEXANDRE BECK (FRANCOIS CLUZET, who bears a substantial resemblance to DUSTIN HOFFMAN) is a well to do pediatrician. His wife MARGOT (the lovely MARIE JOSEE CROZE) is a social worker. They are childhood sweethearts that have been married for years. They’re happy together and incredibly devoted to one another.

Alex’s sister Anne and her romantic partner HELENE (KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS) own a riding stable out in the countryside. Alex and Margot are very familiar with the area. They grew up there. When they were very small, they carved their initials into a majestic oak tree and they return annually to mark another 365 days together.

In the opening scenes, they’re visiting Anne and Helene. You can hear the melancholy sweetness of OTIS REDDING’S FOR YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE on the soundtrack. Late one night, they decide to go for a moonlight swim.

They have a pointless argument – the kind that everyone has from to time. Margot becomes impatient and distracted. When she hears their dog close by, she decides to go and find him. She is only gone a few minutes when Alex hears her screaming. He attempts to rush to her aid but is knocked out cold. He falls back into the water.

Alex is in the hospital in a coma for three days. When he wakes up, he discovers that Margot is dead. He is a suspect for a period of time. Women are often killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Plus Alex had a substantial insurance policy out on her. The police don’t want to let it go until they’re sure. Her murder is blamed on a serial killer and the case is finally closed.

Cut to eight years later…

Alex is living his life. It’s difficult for him to get past what happened. But he’s trying. To his great shock and horror, he discovers that the cops have decided to proceed with Margot’s file and open up the investigation again. They’ve dug up the bodies of two young men at the scene who they assume were accomplices to the crime. A baseball bat was also found. It has Alex’s blood all over it.

As if that weren’t enough, on the anniversary of Margot’s death, someone sends Alex an odd email. It contains a brand new video of a woman who looks exactly like Margot.

The text reads, “Tell no one. We’re being watched.”

Those are the only details that will be divulged here. The less you know about this fabulous film, the better.

The acting is excellent across the board. But Ms. Scott Thomas is a particular stand out. Helene is a skeptic of the highest order. She’s dark, mischievous and great fun to watch. Her French is not only flawless but her acting is completely natural. If you hadn’t seen her before, you would have no idea that it wasn’t her first language.

But as terrific as the performers are, they are definitely in service to the twisting plot, the deep dread that looms over each individual moment and the almost unbearable anxiety. For those two hours you almost feel like you can’t breathe.

This is an uncommonly compelling motion picture: moody, atmospheric and dangerously alluring.

In these situations tone is everything. Considering the complications of the highly detailed narrative – and all of the other components of this story – there are so many things that could conceivably go wrong. But this is a monumental work that is very close to sheer perfection. It also has one of the most marvelously satisfying endings that you’ll ever experience.

GUILLAUME CANET is a great looking successful actor in his native land. He directed the picture, cowrote it (it’s an adaptation of HARLAN COBEN’S English language best seller) and acted in it as well. He does an exceptionally brilliant job at all of them.

There are scenes of sweeping poetic beauty. One is noteworthy because of the lushness of the brightly coloured rhododendrons, which seem to stretch out forever.

Then there are some others that are uncompromisingly gritty: the cops chasing Alex across a never ending freeway loaded with cars and a sequence where he hides in a dumpster with a rat and it comes very close to attacking him.

There are also some pulse pounding moments where Alex thinks he might have discovered what’s actually going on. He rushes along the street with his big woolly dog NINA, U2’S WITH OR WITHOUT YOU blaring in the background.

There are many unusual things about this movie. Some are small masterful touches. Others are more substantial. But English language music (some very popular) is used throughout. In a French film, that’s exceedingly rare.

This is a multilayered work that has a lot to say about matters of the heart and romantic relationships, in spite of the fact that it’s a cool superlative thriller. It’s about how love can transcend time. Be eternal and never ending.

How nothing can ever really separate you from the people that you care about. Not even death…

It’s unlikely that there will be a better foreign language film this year.

TELL NO ONE has both style – and substance – to burn…

4 Responses to “TELL NO ONE ****”

  1. *sigh* ms m. and i tell you in computer lounging clothes. i didn’t care for tell no one.

    i have no idea what the cp/lic crew is raving/going crazy about and yes i wanted to really like this film/ tell no one is just another respectable film that meant nothing to me/for me/that didn’t entirely suck that i don’t feel for and i feel stupid even watching it considering the mass ravings it’s getting…

    i’ll give it 2 and half stars or something…

    it’s funny you mentioned the u2/’with’ song.

    because either on your page or craig’s. i refed this has a perfect example of why i hate music in film.

    he’s running and we know why. is the scene really added to/improved by that lame U2 song playing (nope i don’t like U2. i don’t feel bad saying so. they are known enough it can’t hurt them.)

    but think of all the bands that weren’t given a chance because they were ‘weird’/everyone wants to be alternative but hate everything different. the kids are making sure guitars want make a difference.. and got a barrage of bad/mediocre review before they could get any real footage/foothold…

    really i found it damn annyoing and it’s such a crutch.

    you and everyone once can ref this scene. and i’m still gonna ref it as a perfect example of why i hate the use of music in movies. especially pop songs. especially well known pop songs.

    and as always/well often this songs comes from no ‘natural’ source. where the hell is music coming from ??? oh no one cares. let’s sing along to the lame pop song.

    hollywood and french cinema. can’t you hear me calling you out. so sick of the same old scheme…

    this film has both style and substance ??? well i say just burn it. given my hep pile of good reveiws this film has gotten so i can burn it ! πŸ™‚

    so yeah this film didn’t work for me. but yeah i can only like ‘weird’ or films with losers.

    and as i mentioned. seems most everything i like this year has some slant of unreality about it (sometimes literally)

    maybe this film was ‘too’ realistic for me. maybe i should crawl inside my mind and hide ???

    to me this film seemed pretty ‘trad’ without any ‘damage’ to lift it above the grime/game/genre. (but when have i ever been a ‘thriller’ person ?? not even an interst in ‘sexy’ thrillers)… anyway. and how can i ‘relate’ to ‘pulse pounding moments’ when i hate the ringing of a telephone and loud noises scare me ?? ‘now tell me again how lucky i am’ ??

    how can i relate to ‘pulse punding’..when i want to just sleep forever ???

    but don’t worry ad/lic/cp people/mavens/ you’ll fool me again. get me to see some movie i don’t like worth a darn. but you deem essential. or almost essential…)

    this film had layers/but it just equaled the same. seriously…

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


    Well, there ain’t much I can add to that…

    The U2 song could have been playing in a nearby bar or restaurant as he ran down the street with the dog. It’s possible.

    Sorry that you didn’t care for that moment, sweet glim. I thought it was electrifying.

    Though your opinions and thoughts are always welcome here (and always will be – you’re one of my favourite people AND you know that), I don’t see it as a traditional thriller.

    Far too complicated. As in MUCH. It could have imploded like a house of cards. SO EASILY…AND IT DIDN’T.

    Plus for Monsieur Canet to have those mindblowing scenes of sheer gorgeous poetry juxtaposed with all the gritty stuff and have it actually work takes great skill. That ending was so unexpected – and incredible.

    This could so easily have gone off the rails. The fact that it DIDN’T amazes me. It’s an achievement and a triumph.

    For me.

    Not to mention that creating a successful thriller is one of the most difficult things EVER. You have to bring together mood, tension and atmosphere effectively. Those things don’t fall from the sky.

    I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy the film, glim.

    But at least you’re comfy in your computer lounging clothes.

  3. ok, i did use the phrase trad. but that’s not entirely an insult. hell a few things i’m liking this year could get that tag too. you could even say trad=indie. *ouch* πŸ˜‰

    but there was nothing uncoventional about this movie (aside from the additional layers which we don’t get clued into tell later in the film.) or the characterization/personas or types of chracters.

    hmm i don’t know…what i’m i getting at.

    ok the lead guy in tell no one. from pretty much five minutes in. he’s someone people can root/do root. and want to succeed. he’s the guy that if people were in the sitution they wish they could react/act the same.

    they want to be him and whatever difference they are will it’s sort of the same. the guy in tell no one functions pretty close to usual action/thriller movie(despite the age/physical build difference) he’s smart/dedicated/thinks well on his feet/in pressure situations

    did anyone want to be the guy from ‘priceless’ ??? i doubt it.

    who often came across as incoherent/babbling/stupid and naive and maybe not the most noble either. hey remember he want along with how he was misperceived to uh ‘help’ his chances…

    and was the irene character really one people instantly/loved or felt they’d root for ??

    hmm no. hey even the sugar daddy/mamas that pop up don’t come across as movie people you’ve got the love root for either/lovable/likable/. no one instantly coming across as the ‘good guys’ in this movie. (although weirdly enough i felt they were portrayed with a bit of sympathy)

    so yeah you could label both tell no one and priceless as trad. but the characterization in priceless makes it a bit more unconverntional than the trad heart tell no one (no i don’t have to pretend to be objective. *ha ha*)

    and probably a lot more unconventional than the summer blockbusters that are gonna ‘rock’ critics year end top 20 (or whatever list)

    you can bust me for loving another film with a loser/outsider slant. and that’s ok. if you don’t have anything nice to say that’s ok. πŸ˜‰ (i still love that joke)

    and nick. uh, we don’t agree on this film. but it doesn’t matter since i control your every waking thought. *ha ha* πŸ˜‰

    and all other cliches and so on. priceless comes across as more on my side of the fence. something small and dialogue based and doesn’t involve 80 people getting shot at /a superhero or talking animals.

    viva le geek ! πŸ˜‰

  4. OK, glim. You are quite right in some respects.

    TNO is NOT that far off the beaten path. I’ll give you that. Aside from the additional layers and the types of characters that you come in contact with, there WASN’T that much that was different about it.

    It did have an exceedingly complicated narrative and I do think the structure was rather unique. But the points that you made DO stick to the wall, babe.

    did anyone want to be the guy from Priceless? i doubt it.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. HAH.

    No. OH HELL NO. Much as I adored PRICELESS and thought that he was really handsome, there surely would not be many people that would want to actually be that character.

    Happy ending or not.

    Hey, I won’t bust you. Say whatever you feel like saying. I’m a liberal. Free speech zone. If someone is out of line, then they’ll get edited or I’ll say something to them directly. Much more likely to be the latter.

    But I think in six months I’ve only had to say something to a commenter ONCE.

    And if new people arrive here out of the blue and make smart remarks, then their comments won’t even end up on site. You can disagree politely with myself, my beloved regulars or anyone else for that matter.

    But if you’re going to be grievously incendiary and ignorant, the plug’s gonna be pulled FAST.

    It’s my site. So what I want goes. That’s it. That’s all.

    But glim, I adore you. You have proved yourself to be a good friend time and time again…and you do endless amounts to up the ante around this joint.

    So whatever you say is dandy by me.

    I’m just grateful you visit. Totally…

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