Thursday, June 14, 2007

TELL NO-ONE/NE LE DIS A PERSONNE - teeeeeee-dious "thriller"

Inside the bloated two hour run-time of TELL NO-ONE is a decent thriller screaming to get out. But sadly, as it is, this movie is over-long, poorly directed and woefully un-thrilling.

Based on a novel by Harlan Coben, the movie has been adapted and directed by the young French director Guillaume Canet. Fran├žois Cluzet plays a grieving pediatrician called Alex Beck. Beck receives an email from his wife, who was apparently brutally murdered eight years previously. At the same time, the police re-open her murder case when they un-earth two bodies near Beck's country estate. Beck goes on the run from the police, seeking help from the criminal types he meets in his clinic and from his sister (Marina Hands) and her lover (Kristin Scott Thomas.) Eventually, not so much through his own cunning as other's need to talk, Beck discovers the truth.

My problems with the movie are many and various. The pacing is way too slow. The structure too meandering. Cluzot chooses to play Beck as unemotive - which makes his screen-time really dull. The deep dark secret at the centre is easy to spot if you pay attention to the huge big random bits of information that are clumsily dropped in half way through. Thereafter, the film unfolds slowly and the deep dark secret is treated simply as a plot motivator rather than explored in the depth that it deserves. Treating that particular issue as a Macguffin is especially tasteless. The denouement is even more annoying. After a supposedly tense, adult thriller we are left to wallow in sun-kissed sentimentalism that feels completely out-of-place. Frankly, this movie is a mess.

TELL NO-ONE/NE LE DIS A PERSONNE opened in the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, and Switzerland in 2006 and in Russia, the Ukraine, Israel and Turkey earlier this year. It is currently on release in the UK and the US. It opens in Sweden in August and in Finland on September 28th.

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