Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Tell No One" (Language - French) (2006) - Movie Review

The French film “Tell No One” is a thriller with real characters. The cliched usage of real characters is unavoidable because it really is and at the end of the film we understand the pain of the protagonist Alex (François Cluzet). He is the typical wrongfully accused husband of murdering his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze). He does run away from the law at one point in the film but it makes sense why he does that. It is foolish but his motivation is truthful. When was the last time there was an approval of a stupidity in a character driven solely by the emotion? Nothing I remember lately.

Alex and Margot lie naked on the deck of a Lake devoid of people. It is dark and it is imminent that danger is taking a dip with them. That is why when Margot swims across alone in it, we feel that there needs to be a miracle for something atrocious not happening to her. Still when Alex hearing the screams of Margot comes piercing through the waters and attacked, we fall along with him in the waters. Eight years have passed and he poses happy face for his patients while silently grieving for his dead wife. He gets that cryptic mail coinciding with the day of his wife’s death. It shows a live webcam wherein he sees Margot staring right through him. He is troubled. Then with that he does something silly of asking Margot’s father about whether he saw bruises on his daughter’s face the day he identified her body and gets kicked out. In the meanwhile they discover two bodies by the same forest and a key from the crime scene opens a safe box which reopens the Margot’s case. Alex who was already suspected is back at the center of the investigation..

In a thriller like this, the obligations are dime a dozen. You need to have a police officer with some common sense than others to solve a case. There got to be side characters to doubt, the trust turning to mistrust and vice versa. “Tell No One” faithfully does the obligations, steps over the characters of dubious nature and then comes clean in its transparent pages of its screenplay. The film based on a novel by Harlan Coben gets written for the screen by director Guillaume Canet. There is no hurry in getting the plot and absolutely no confusion whatsoever in the manner of its unraveling too. There is curiosity on so many unknown nameless characters doing things which does not make much sense. And then they have this little snippets of information given as simple memories and then some through investigation Alex does when he is on the run.

In “The Fugitive” which is supposed to be my first “conversational” English feature film, while the thrill is on the run of this innocent man, do we really understand the agony of being blamed of a crime punishing him further adding to the loss of his love? May be a little for the sunken face of Harrison Ford with his confused eyes. But the anger in finding the real killer fails to come across and the factor of him missing his wife gets washed down in the action scenes. Not that I did not like the film but seeing “Tell No One”, I realized what was missing in Ford’s flick.

Alex played by François Cluzet does the grieving husband trying to hide his sorrow over his work. When a film pushes forward the time lapse, the characters need to accommodate it. Surprising enough that we do not take much close look on it of what the time period does to the characters in films. The fading sorrow with a faint but dangerously effective pain looms over the face of Alex here. And Cluzet has no trouble in bringing it to his Alex. Even the cigarette he smokes is burnt with a sense of depression and carelessness for the surroundings around him. Many might easily miss his performance in a busy screenplay.

For a film which rides on the hope of big suspense, “Tell No One” comes so close to be a failure due to its own original and itching build up. What is so good about it is that the perspective of Alex is made positively sure would be that of the audience. The concealment of the details to reveal the truth is something Alex and ourself hear it for first time. It is not the greatest suspense of all but it does not try to be one. When the path they arrived was so entertaining, suspenseful, emotional and most importantly beautiful, the reasoning should coincide with its rest of the structure. I might call it doing a fair game in untying the knot but that brands it as a film satiating the genre of thriller. Rather it is a original thriller with characters we come to sympathize. When Alex breaks into tears in the end standing in the spot he came along with Margot right from his childhood, we want to give him a shoulder to rest. That tells a lot about “Tell No One”.

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