Tell No One

Back to the proper grown-up films. Ne Le Dis A Personne or Tell No One is a french movie of a novel by American Harlan Coben being punted as ‘starring’ English actress Kirsten Scott Thomas. Can you feel that cosmopolitanism? Welcome to the 21st century.

PLOT: On the 8th anniversary of his wife’s death, Dr Alex Beck becomes the interest of les flick when two decomposing corpses are found in the same wood as she was. In other news; he starts to receive emails that suggest she just might not be dead after all.

So, let’s deal with Ms Thomas first of all. She plays the confidante sidekick role. The kinda thing that used to be the specialty of Oliver Platt before we began to instantly suspect he was shagging you wife, molesting your children and defrauding your business into the ground. And, she’s ok. I’ll be honest, I think she’s overdoing the French thing. There are moments of near parody to my eyes. I can’t help thinking it’s like when an American plays a British role (usually an aristo in some costume drama) and is not quite right. But, who am I to say? Apparently she’s properly bi-lingual and near bi-resident. I can barely remember how to tell someone my name or how many bananas I have in my basket. I can probably count the number of times I’ve been in France on both hands. So, what do I have to go on as to whether her performance is convincing or not (come to think of it she could even be playing an ex-pat)? Can the language gap remove any proper critical facilities? Would I care if it weren’t her? I really dunno.

However, I do feel quite certain I can say that François Cluzet, in the central role as the widowed doc, is formidable (accent that how you like). Like a gallic Dustin Hoffman he pulls off that everyman thing that’s required at the centre of something like this with just the right balance of bewilderment, anger and determination. What little action there is without him actually seems to dip slightly in pace – which is saying something considering these are usually to do with the bunch of psychos killing and torturing while on pursuit of him. And, for a man who seems to be constantly smoking (and, a docrtor too!) he can fair leg it. But, as I said, with the language gap, can I be sure? Oh, I reckon so.

Writer and director Guillaume Canet (who also acts in a minor but pivotal role) handles this sharply and deftly. Managing to brilliantly balance the tense what’s-going-on? moments with bug brash set pieces (see the brilliant chase where aforementioned legging of it is done). He handles the tension well, keeping me particularly on the edge of my seat during a scene in a park, that like all the best of these things, diffuses at the end.

But then, he seems to decide to finish it all off with a Christie style deposition from one character that fits all the bits together. Sloppy. But, then, perhaps this is true to the novel. I’m all for respecting the source material, a little less reverence can’t hurt sometimes. I suspect this could have had quite a few judicial cuts. In a novel, if you piece together the information your paying fed, you feel smart. Often in the cinema you find yourself screaming the we’d sussed waaaaaay back. Or si that just me?

Must actually get round to reading something from the pile of Coben stuff in the flat


Written by Tony Kiernan

18 July 2007 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Film

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