Written by Harlen Coben

Directed by Guillaume Canet

 François Cluzet and Marie-Jozée Croze,



Tell No One


“Tell No One,” a French mystery film originally released in 2006 and just now available on DVD, is a brilliant and baffling film – sometimes a bit too brilliant for its own good.  Nevertheless it is an amazing achievement.  Two people have been in love since childhood and are now married --- the kind of fairy tale that needs to come true in the movies – they are Alex and Margot Beck – and they are played by François Cluzet and Marie-Jozée Croze, the French-Canadian actress whom you’ll recall as the heroin addict in “The Barbarian Invasions” and the therapist in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”  One night as they go swimming naked in their own private lake – a place they’ve regarded as their own -- Margot swims across, then Alex hears what could be a scream.  He swims to the other bank but is hit with something and falls back into the lake, unconscious.  Her body is cremated.  Cut to eight years later, when Alex is now a doctor and Margot has perhaps reappeared; is she sending him messages on his computer?


But then the police find her body and that of another man, buried these eight years.  And the evidence points to Alex as the murderer.  What happens from that point on is the plot of the rest of “Tell No One.”  If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is based on a novel by the American mystery writer Harlen Coben.  But the writer/director Guillaume Canet has made us sit up on the edge of our seats for the next two hours, as he carefully puts a variety of brilliant red herrings before us.  And his lead, François Cluzet, who’s been in almost a hundred films, is known to Americans mainly for small roles in Altman’s “Pret-a-Porter,” “Round Midnight,” and “Chocolat.”  He has exactly the right anonymous face and voice for the role; a quiet man, thoroughly professional-- so is he hiding something?  Is he as innocent as he appears to be?


 I’m a sucker for a well-crafted mystery, and “Tell No One” is exactly that, with layers of clues that need to be unraveled before we know who and how and why.  In fact, the final reveal is a bit over the top, but by then you won’t care; you’ll have had too much fun watching what happens on screen.  There are some marvelous characters around the periphery of the film too, including a taxi driver whose hemophiliac son Alex once saved.  It’s a film of odd moments and strange juxtapositions.  Be careful you don’t miss a thing.  As I say, it’s now available on DVD and well worth it.