Classic Intel: Tell No One - Blu-ray Review

'Canet teases out plot details with the care one would take when eating spaghetti bolognese whilst wearing an expensive white shirt'

A popular French thriller (by comparison to how widely viewed other foreign offerings are) and no less than Michael Caine's tenth favourite film of all time, Tell No One is a masterclass in directing tense mysteries, delivered with patience and skill by Guillaume Canet.

Patience, in fact, is the key concept here. Canet teases out plot details with the care one would take when eating spaghetti bolognese whilst wearing an expensive white shirt. There's no rush. Everything is extracted with the utmost care and attention. The time between protagonist Alex (Fran├žois Cluzet) receiving an e-mail telling him to log on at a certain time in order to see something interesting, and Alex actually viewing the interesting thing, is vast.

That said, not a moment is wasted either. The gap between Alex's e-mail and his bout of voyeurism is spent carefully setting up plot events that will bear fruit later in the narrative. This is a two-hour film where the entire two hours are used wisely and with purpose. Several directors who seem to take it as a personal insult if every single one of their films don't break the one-hundred and twenty minute mark could learn a thing or two.

Ultimately, despite the great quality in direction, this is based on a pulpy Harlan Coben novel and in the end it can't quite escape its genre trappings. Like almost every film which promises you a revelation for a reveal, the conclusion falls slightly flat and feels too neat. There's a single character without whom none of this would work and their direct knowledge of every element of the plot just feels too vast to certify believability.

Entertaining for the most part though, and certainly so in the tense and well constructed middle seventy-five minutes, where Cluzet excels under generous support from Kristin Scott Thomas and Marina Hands.




Look further...

'Overly complex? Perhaps, but never dull. Here’s hoping a US studio will take the plunge with one of Coben’s other thrillers' - Film School Rejects

4 comments:

  1. Terrific film, I haven't seen it in a while but I do remember it being one of the more accomplished thrillers I'd seen in a while. If there is an American remake, and there probably will be, I wouldn't mind if Ben Affleck to the reins for it.

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  2. I meant "took" not "to", silly me :)

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  3. I think Affleck's actually been tapped for the remake. I've not heard anything about it for a while but its got a 2012 listing on IMDb and The Guardian reported on the Affleck story here - http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jun/16/ben-affleck-tell-no-one

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  4. Huh, how strange! Perhaps I should become a movie exec since I seem to think in a similar to them. Although I'm not sure if that's a compliment :)

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