Tell No One

Tell No One


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Based on the novel of (approximately) the same name by Harlan Coben, Ne Le Dis À Personne is a thriller in the classic tradition.

The original, being by an American author, is set in the US, but the film cannily and carefully transcribes the action to France. It opens with a violent assault on a couple by a lake, childhood sweethearts, and then it is eight years later. Paediatrician Alexandre Beck receives a mysterious message, and discovers that his wife, long thought dead, may still be alive.

Copy picture

François Cluzet turns in a powerful performance as Dr Beck, suddenly jarred from his longstanding grief. Events are set into motion by the discovery of two bodies near the spot where Beck was knocked unconscious and his wife abducted. The 'official' version of events, in which Margot Beck was kidnapped and mutilated by a serial killer, is called ever more into question and as the film progresses there is ever more complexity around the truth.

Tell No One has a well judged and solid soundtrack, mostly American but with some well conceived original pieces and an incidental score by -M- (French musician Mathieu Chedid). The translation of US artists (including Jeff Buckley) to the French countryside is part of the film's regionalisation of the story. The original novel was released in 2001, and the narrative is dependent on a number of modern inventions – it is an email that Dr Beck receives, and it contains a link to a webcam. The various conspirators on both sides of the law make use of all manner of eavesdropping technologies, and as Beck gets closer to the truth the efforts of those around the central mystery become more sophisticated, all the more so when Beck is (once again) suspected of his wife's murder.

The challenges of moving the action from the US to France have been ably met by director Guillaume Canet, who also helped adapt the script. Bruno, Beck's somewhat unlikely (but well justified) criminal ally is ably portrayed by Gilles Lellouche. The forays into the underworld are well handled; in fact, all of the action is well done. This is a crisp and well made thriller. Indeed, the only odd thing about it is that it is French, rather than American, but it confidently moves the story with its universal themes of secrecy and the abuse of power to France, and grips all the way through.

The only hesitation in this recommendation is the fact that it is a 'foreign' film, though well subtitled. Indeed, the oddity of reading the English translation of a French version of an American book is not insignificant, but given the various versions of the 'truth' that the film goes through as it speeds towards its finale this is forgivable, if not an asset. Ne Le Dis À Personne is an excellent mystery thriller and well worth investigating.

Reviewed on: 22 Feb 2007
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Tell No One packshot
Years after the event, a man still haunted by the apparent murder of his wife starts to receive mysterious instructions.
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Director: Guillaume Canet

Writer: Guillaume Canet, based on the novel by Harlan Coben.

Starring: François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, François Berléand

Year: 2006

Runtime: 125 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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