Based on American author Harlan Coben’s best seller, this intricate French thriller revolves around a pediatrician whose life is turned upside-down when buried secrets from his past are unearthed.
Dr. Alexandre Beck (Francois Cluzet) and his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) have been sweethearts since childhood. They’re vacationing at his family’s secluded lakeside home when, suddenly, inexplicably, Margot is abducted and brutally killed after they’ve been skinny-dipping and Alex is beaten into a coma by an unseen assailant. Eventually, a serial killer is convicted of the crime. That’s the prologue.
Eight years later, on the anniversary of the murder, Alex receives a mysterious e-mail showing what appears to be ‘live’ footage of Margot with the cryptic warning, “Tell no one. They’re watching.” About the same time, two more corpses are unearthed by the lake and the police re-open the case. Their prime suspect is Alex, whose blood has been found on the evidence. Confiding only in his friend Helene (Kristin Scott-Thomas), the lesbian lover of his champion horsewoman sister Anne (Marina Hands), Alex soon finds himself on the run not only from the police but also sinister villains, while trying to figure out what’s happening and if his beloved wife is really still alive.
Adapted by Guillaume Canet and Philippe Lefebvre and directed by Canet, it’s complicated, convoluted cinematic storytelling with an abrupt, anti-climactic resolution. Yet Cluzet’s understated performance is so compelling that you’re propelled along, particularly during cinematographer Christophe Offenstein’s breath-taking police chase, as Alex artfully dodges speeding cars while running on Paris’s perimeter highway.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Tell No One” is an eerie, suspenseful 7. In French with English subtitles, it won four Cesars (France’s Oscar equivalent), including best actor and best director.