François Cluzet keeps your heart pounding in Tell No One.
TELL NO ONE directed by Guillaume Canet, written by Canet and Philippe Lefebvre based on the novel by Harlan Coben, with François Cluzet, Marie-?Josée Croze, Marina Hands and Kristin Scott Thomas. A Seville Pictures release. 131 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (September 26). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
I was kind of surprised to see posters for Tell No One appearing around town in recent weeks.
Guillaume Canet's taut, gritty thriller has been readily available on DVD for nine months now. And I'm not talking about an import; this movie went straight to video, in Canada, in January.
And nobody noticed. This is a shame, because the film - a 2006 adaptation of the Harlan Coben novel about an unassuming pediatrician who receives evidence that his wife, thought murdered eight years earlier, is still alive - is an excellent example of the sort of crackling psychological thriller that Americans don't seem to know how to make any more.
Tell No One is carefully paced, grounded in character and driven by a distinctly Hitchcockian sympathy for its Everyman protagonist, Alexandre Beck, nicely played by François Cluzet as a ragged echo of the confident, comfortable man we meet in the film's opening sequence.
After eight years of mourning his wife's murder - he still visits his former in-laws on the anniversary of her death - Alexandre is edging back toward a normal life. That's when a mysterious e-mail leads him to a surveillance video clip of a woman who looks just like his late wife, Margot (Marie-Josée Croze), sending him spiralling into a frantic, terrified search for more information.
Was that really Margot? Who sent the e-mail? And what does this have to do with the discovery of two male corpses near the remote spot where Margot was attacked? Canet steers the action from one revelation to the next with a steady hand, doling out plot points only when absolutely necessary and letting others dangle, tantalizingly, until the very last minute.
He's also recruited every interesting actor living in France to fill out his cast. That's Lady Chatterley's Marina Hands as Alex's confused sister, and Nathalie Baye as his lawyer. Philippe Lefebvre (who co-scripted with Canet) and François Berléand turn up as detectives developing opposing theories regarding Margot's murder. A perfectly fluent Kristin Scott Thomas blends into the cast as Alex's closest friend. The estimable Jean Rochefort and André Dussollier have small, key roles, and Canet himself appears briefly as Rochefort's son.
So, to reiterate: Solid thriller, straight to video. Happens more often than you'd think. But things have changed since January. For one thing, the film opened in New York and Los Angeles over the summer and became the art-house sleeper hit of the season.
Right around that time, Seville Pictures was acquired by Entertainment One, which ended its DVD distribution deal with Warner. Though the old Warner discs can still be found in stores, and on rental shelves, Tell No One won't technically be available on DVD in Canada again until November 25, when it's reissued by Entertainment One.
The bottom line, though, is that Tell No One is worth seeking out, however you choose to watch it .