Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tell No One

"Tell No One" has potential as a good film and thriller, and it has chances where it is able to elevate above the formula that it has seemingly submitted to, but unfortunately, as the final shot soars above a quite familiar place, I was left confused and needing a little more. I was surprised how far I was drawn in. Guillaume Canet does a good adaptation of Harlan Coben (not that I've read the book or anything). I was touched by the story, in many respects. It's a devastating tale not unlike that of "Sporloos"("The Vanishing"): Alexandre (François Cluzet) takes his childhood sweetheart (apparently) named Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) to a special place where the two take a dip. They also get into a row and Margot walks away, hurt. She is then heard being beaten. As Alexandre tries to save her, he is knocked out, falling into the lake. The movie then goes ahead eight years, where a grieving Alexandre continues about his day as a doctor and creates seemingly meaningless friendships that help out later in the film. He also receives a note from an anonymous sender. This is a recipe for suspense. Canet tries to set up very well, but in places, I felt extremely aggravated. I guess this is the point, but he waits long before the film hits high tide, but from here, the film falls into a steady decline. The high tide is a fascinating, masterfully orchestrated chase scene. This seems to be where all the energy of Canet went to, and for these fleeting moments a felt a tide turn. But the rest of the film never reached this place. One detractor, of course, were the messily placed music cues, as random as U2's "With or Without You" when Alexandre is oddly running with his dog. With more strategic choices, the mood would have been boosted. Another great modification would have been to tinker with the preposterous explanation that the film tries to exit on (it fails miserably in my book). To conceal a simple plot would have been hard, apparently, so the mechanics were moved up a notch and thus the plot is a complex and ridiculous frivolity. With a little editing, "Tell No One" would be a brilliant piece, showing the strengths hidden beneath some of the unnecessary bulk. I was impressed, but in this business, the bait's only half the battle. B-

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