An anonymous e-mail forces a widower to prove he didn’t murder his wife in the terrific new indie “Tell No One.”
The French thriller, in select theaters now, maneuvers through a byzantine plot as if it had a road map tattooed on every reel.
Dr. Alex Beck (Francois Cluzet) hasn’t stopped mourning for his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) even eight years after her brutal murder.
So when an anonymous e-mail hits his inbox suggesting she isn’t dead, his grief gives way to hope. It’s the first of many twists engineered by director Guillame Canet, who co-wrote the script from Harlan Coben’s novel of the same name.
Soon, Alex is targeted once more by police as a possible suspect in his wife’s murder. His alibi checked out the first time, but new evidence emerges that puts his innocence in doubt.
Cluzet – think a young, more handsome Dustin Hoffman – nails Alex’s desperation as well as his undying affection for his wife. The two share only a few fleeting scenes together, but they cement their bond without falling into romantic hyperbole.
What sets “Tell No One” apart from your average Hollywood mystery is how satisfying the ends all tie together. Audiences won’t be groaning in disbelief as the story patiently reveals every last puzzle piece.
Canet also sets time aside for quiet, human moments which makes “Tell No One” feel like much more than a “Bourne Identity” retread. A cynical police inspector kisses his mother on the head before reporting back to duty. Alex takes a nasty fall at the tail end of a thrilling foot race. These tiny, throwaway moments add up to plenty.
A few cogs in this movie machine could stand some grease. Alex gets help from someone whose very appearance reeks of plot contrivance, and the pulsing score gets interrupted several times for American-friendly pop songs.
As Gene Shalit might cry if he ever turned his gaze toward obscure foreign films – “I wanna ‘tell everyone’ to see ‘Tell No One!’”
(Photo: Francois Cluzet races against time – and a police investigation – to find out the truth about his wife in “Tell No One.”)