In life, we face tough decisions. Sometimes we make the right choice, and other times we don't, but these decisions and what we do with them are what defines us a person. Halfway through the excellent thriller Tell No One, I was faced with such a decision: continue watching the movie, or do what I desperately needed to do: go to the bathroom.
Tell No One, known in its native French as Ne le dis à personne, is about a man named Alexandre (François Cluzet) who travels to a secluded, private lake with his beautiful, loving wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze). It seems like the perfect, romantic vacation until they are both attacked, leaving Margot dead and Alexandre a suspect. Eight years later, having long been cleared of the charges, Alexandre finds himself once again a suspect after two bodies - perhaps the men responsible for murdering his wife - turn up at the lake. To complicate matters, he has started to receive mysterious emails that suggest at a devastating truth - oh, and a group of killers are watching him. With two detectives hot on his heels, Alexandre sets out to discover the truth, no matter what the cost.
I went to Tell No One on a referral from my brother, not knowing a single thing about the movie. Literally not a single thing. Thankfully, the movie defied the already high expectations for the picture as it is one of the best-made, gripping and intelligent thrillers I've seen in years. Writer/director Guillaume Canet has created a masterful picture, based on the novel by Harlan Coben. The movie weaves a complicated, alluring and realistic plot that keeps you guessing - and on the edge of your seat. Canet stacks one arc on top of the other, yet never loses track of the story he's telling, nor betrays the audience with plot holes or forced situations.
What enhances Tell No One is that it manages to develop a rich set of characters without sacrificing the pacing or suspense. The movie drops into the mystery almost immediately, yet François Cluzet, as Alexandre, quickly develops his character as a likable, intelligent protagonist. The variety of supporting actors, including Kristin Scott Thomas, also turn in great performances.
The movie is, in fact, pitch perfect. Smart, suspenseful, thrilling and emotional, Tell No One is one of the best movies of 2008. Good thing I decided to hold my bladder.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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