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Tell No One

A movie directed by Guillame Canet

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A very exciting thriller: Hitchcockian intrigue keeps you guessing throughout this French "Fugitive"-style film

  • Oct 14, 2008
This is a very exciting thriller, in the tradition of American films like The Fugitive, but with a unique edge that makes it distinctively French and deliciously diabolical. It is certainly darker (and funnier) than The Fugitive, but it is no accident that there is an American feel, since it is based on a book by Harlan Coben.

Eight years after his wife's brutal murder, new clues emerge that lead police to once again suspect that Alexander Beck may have killed her. At the same time, he begins to think she may be still alive, and is frantic to find her before he is arrested as a suspect for another related homicide. Director Guillaume Canet keeps you guessing as the plot thickens, revealing bits and pieces of the past as new circumstances help Beck to see that he didn't know his wife as well as he had thought.

The film looks great, with editing and camera work that helps to achieve a perfect balance of subtle tension and intensity. The performances are all very strong -- and there is a surprisingly intense performance by a bit player, a determined and remorseless tall and skinny female assassin/torture expert, that still haunts me. In fact, I would go as far as to say that her performance created one of the most frightening villians I've seen on the screen in a long time -- even more than the performance of Javier Bardem as Chigurh in No Country for Old Men -- because it was just as intense but more plausible. Definitely recommended for lovers of French Cinema, but also for those who think that French films tend to be too cerebral and cannot deliver the thrills. This one hits you in both the brain and the gut.

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More Tell No One reviews
review by . November 23, 2011
One of the finest thrillers on film, from an equally fine book.
Says U. S. film critic Roger Ebert: "Here is how a thriller should be made."   Says Stephen Holden of the New York Times: "I watched it twice. It was even better the second time."   Says me: "I couldn't agree more with them." Tell No One, even without the quotes, is one of the best thrillers I've seen in a long, long time.       Alexander Beck and his wife, Margot, both much in love, have gone for a bit of evening …
review by . April 04, 2009
Two hours and 5 minutes, is a long time to draw out this "mystery." This film meanders around, running time backward and forward, replaying scenes, subtracting and adding details, until the audience is finally shown the whole story. I love French film, I love mysteries, I love the odd chase scene, unfortunately this film mostly strikes out on most accounts.     Dr. Alex Beck and his wife Margot drive out to a country house on the lake. We realize this is a childhood romance that …
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #10
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (, and am co-director of … more
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About this movie


Based on the book by American author Harvey Coben, this French suspense thriller is one of those exhilarating word-of-mouth gems one can't to tell everyone about. Francois Cluzet stars as Alex, a pediatrician whose beloved wife, Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) was shockingly murdered eight years before. As the anniversary of her death approaches, Alex begins to receive cryptic emails and a video that seems to suggest that she is alive. The discovery of two long-buried bodies at the crime scene turn Alex into some kind of Hitchcockian Everyman, implicated in a crime he could not possibly have committed. But when he makes a mad dash from the police who visit him at his office, he seems to have signed his own confession. This synopsis doesn't even begin to hint at the genuinely exciting and surprising twists, turns, and revelations that await Alex in this Chinese box of a mystery. Brilliantly acted by an ensemble that includes Kristin Scott Thomas and French movie icon Jean Rochefort (Pardon Mon Affaire),Tell No Oneinvites repeat viewings, the better to appreciate the intricacies of its plotting and construction. And if you think you have it figured out, there's this from one character who tells Alex at a climactic point, "Wait, there's more."--Donald Liebenson
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Director: Guillame Canet
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Music Box Films
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