It is irresistibly French

Tell No One

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis


            It’s about time. “Tell No One” is a French thriller that is intricately plotted, well acted, and full of old fashioned suspense. Because the pacing is steady and fast, we can be allowed to overlook a slew of improbabilities that could be troubling if we were bored. We aren’t; so don’t look for the holes, just enjoy the plot twists that are thrown at the audience like handfuls of confetti. Trying to track these while sorting the characters will keep you busy. Be warned that the process is both exhausting and rewarding. This movie bristles.

            It is irresistibly French. If you watched this as a silent movie, you would still appreciate the cultural differences. Scenes of the adult couple’s childhood friendship, for instance, are delicate without being sentimental; their love for each other as adults is conveyed beautifully in lakeside scenes without sexual sledgehammer that is required by American love stories. Add to that the fun of watching Parisian police work and the interplay among the characters. Strong cast, speedy direction, good story; good evening.

            We meet the childhood friends, Alex (Francois Cluzet) and Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) as married adults enjoying a night of skinny dipping and sleeping under the stars. It is the dock they knew as children. During the night, the couple has a minor disagreement and Margot dives into the lake and swims to the dock where they left their clothes. When he hears her scream, Alex follows only to be knocked out as he is exiting the lake. We already know him as a gentle and perceptive pediatrician. When, eight years later, two bodies are found buried near the lake, we can believe he is a suspect but not that he is guilty.

            Alex’s beautiful lawyer Elizabeth (Nathalie Baye) tips him that the police are coming to arrest him; Alex, who has received an email from his dead wife suggesting a meeting, jumps out his hospital office window and begins a run through Paris that would have exhausted an Olympian. This good man, who has loved his wife for all the years they have been separated, will stay out of jail until he finds her – if indeed she is alive. The chase and the evidence gathering take place simultaneously, straining our focus but never undermining our hope.

            The movie is full of good looking people, some of them distractingly alike, all of them giving first rate performances. No false notes here. As Margot’s father, Andre Dussollier is enigmatic and strong. What does this man know? From the moment we meet him, Francois Cluzet’s Alex wears an expression of a man preoccupied with burdens, as indeed he is. Why are we so caught up in this movie? Probably because Cluzet and Marie-Josee-Croze manage to create such a credible portrait of married love that we actually care about them; and because we do, the complexities of the investigation that envelops them becomes riveting.


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