...as some reviewers have noted, it is very much the Hollywoodisation of a French film. Whilst it is subtitled, the action does seem not very Gallic (this is not necessarily a criticism, just a surprise). Having viewed it a few times, it might not be quite as good as I first thought, but I still think it is a proper film with an excellent story.
Strangely, for a film running at 126 minutes, it seems as though they still couldn`t quite get everything in. We do jump a lot from scene to scene, and characters who appear to have mere bit parts turn out to be essential to our understanding of the story. There are also a few moments that don`t work for me - I don`t expect "With or Without You" by U2 to be playing as our hero runs along a street...not very French at all. Broadly, the acting is very convincing and occasionally moving, and some of the action is compelling. The dialogue is more or less to complement the action and to move the story along - there isn`t so much of the sitting and chatting over a smoke and a beer that is often an integral part of a French film.
It`s an excellent story, no doubt about that. And pretty much 95% of the time, it works, although it is actually quite far-fetched and a few moments don`t quite ring true, particularly the actions of the father-in-law as revealed toward the finale. I think, and this is obviously just one humble viewer`s opinion, that perhaps if this was a two-parter then maybe the pace could be slowed down a little, allowing us to explore the depths of each character a little more. As it stands, it can be quite tiring to watch! But it is a fast-paced thriller with a truly romantic end, and it`s tough to be too critical about any film that can deliver those things so well.
There is something about watching a foreign language film that makes it appear high brow and more intellectual. I feel better seeing a chain smoking Frenchman running around, than watching Russell Crowe and his perma-tan. However, is this not a simple disguise, surely `Tell No One' is just another average thriller, but filmed in France? Alexandre Beck and his wife, Margot, go out swimming one day in a remote lake, whilst there Margot is killed and Alexandre is knocked unconscious. Years later and Alexandre is now a successful Doctor, but he is still haunted to this day. Haunted enough to investigate a mysterious email that suggests that his wife may not dead after all, and that if he wants to see her again, he must tell no one.
Based on the Harlan Coben novel of the same name, `Tell No One' sticks to the themes of the book and those of the writer i.e. moments from the past coming to influence the present. The film is a run of the mill thriller, but in a world of shoddy films that is a lot more than most. François Cluzet is an interesting lead, he is certainly more character actor looking than any American star. He smokes his way through several action sequences that remain realistic throughout, apart from the fact that a 40 a day man couldn't run as much as Alexandre does. The central mystery is what keeps the film going and it is one that you are unlikely to guess. This makes the entire film entertaining to watch as you never know who is a friend and who is a foe.
Because the film is in French the subtitles may put some people off. There is no real reason for this as the action is universal and the plot is simple enough to follow, whilst still being engaging. If the film was shot in America it probably would not have the same charm, but here you believe that Alexandre is an everyman and that the mystery could exist. A quality modern thriller for fans of the genre.
Other reviewers have elaborated on this film better than I can, so all I shall say is that this is one of the best thrillers I have ever seen. Although the author of the novel is American, and the scene of this film was originally set in the USA, the fact that this is a French film, shot in France, makes it even better, in my opinion. The actors are superb and make the characters believable, despite their distinctly French flavour. After receiving the DVD in the post I started to view the DVD only with the intention of satisfying myself that the DVD was in working order, but I became so hooked on it that I sat down and watched the whole film right through until the end! And, no, I did not guess the twist at the end. Superb film - enjoy it!
Eight years ago, a doctor's wife was savagely murdered. But today, he received an email that shows her alive and well. How can that be?
This is a tense who-dun-it and who-dun-what that kept me guessing the whole time. The plot is very complex and there are too many characters to keep track of, so many that I couldn't tell the good guys from the bad guys most of the time. It's in French or English; I tried both and thought the French audio was much better. The acting is uniformly fine. Kristin Scott Thomas, who speaks French beautifully, is listed as a star but has only a small role.
The excitement and thrills kept me on the edge of my seat, even though I wasn't always sure what was going on. (Watching it a second time helped me sort things out and it was still a fun ride). Lots of violence. Recommended.
Tell No-One turns out to be a rather good French thriller and a distinct improvement on actor-director Guillaume Canet's first directorial effort Mon Idole. The early overhead shots of a couple driving through the countryside summon up echoes of Red Lights, Harry, He's Here to Help and The Vanishing in particular (though the film doesn't really match up to them, at least his influences are impeccable) as it sets up the back-story that sees Francois Cluzet's wife murdered. Fast forward eight years and the good doctor is still suspected by the police, especially when two bodies are unearthed near the murder scene that threaten his alibi. And then there's an email he receives with what looks like live footage of his very much alive wife...
There's a good supporting cast - a mostly excellent Andre Dussolier as the antagonistic father-in-law, Jean Rochefort showing once again that he's a much better actor when he doesn't dye his hair to look younger, Nathalie Baye as a razor-sharp lawyer, 36 Quai des Orfevres director Olivier Marchal as a vicious hood and even a less-autopilot-than-usual Kristin Scott-Thomas (maybe she should just stick to French-language parts?) - and it's a surprise to see Luc Besson's Europa Films making something so bourgeois that doesn't involve free-running or martial arts for a change, although there is one excellent chase sequence and a vicious female thug to keep his core constituency happy.
If it has a problem - apart from one credulity-straining moment near the end regarding motivation that isn't so much a plot-hole as the Channel Tunnel - it's that at the end of the day, it's JUST a thriller. There aren't enough lingering questions throughout the movie or any real attempt to create doubt as to whether the hero may really have murdered his wife as the police and media still suspect. The twists are satisfying enough but no great revelations, and it's a disappointment that it finds itself forced into an Irving-the-Explainer ending where the plot is explained at gunpoint. Yet despite the lack of depth, it's a satisfyingly well-executed thriller, and if that's enough for you, you could do a lot worse with two hours of your time. Oh yes, and the eagle-eyed can spot one of French producer Christophe Rossingnon's sporadic blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos as a cop.
The two-disc DVD offers a good selection of extras: 20 deleted scenes (but not with the optional commentary listed on the French DVD), a 55-minute making of documentary, out-takes, brief soundbite interviews with Guillaume Canet and Kristin Scott Thomas, UK trailer, the last takes of the various key players on the film and, as an Easter Egg, hair and makeup tests and snippets of random onset footage totalling some 8 minutes. You'll have to be patient if you want to see the latter since they can only be accessed after leaving the main menu on disc two playing for a couple of minutes, after which a message will appear on the in-tray above the Play All option. There's also an earlier short film directed by Canet, I Can't Sleep as well. The disc has a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, but it's a bit irritating that the unremoveable English subtitles appear in the picture area rather than in the black border underneath.
The French PAL DVD has a good 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with optional English subtitles on the feature but not on the extras
Arrived promptly and though the film was very good for the most part, I was unable to watch the second DVD (which contained the bonus features) as the subtitles were not accessible so, as I don't speak French, it was very disappointing.