Once again a brilliantly executed foreign film made two years ago finally creeps into the Triangle -- for what probably will be a one-week run, seen by a lucky few.
The latest such gem is the nail-biting French thriller "Tell No One." Directed with a razor by Guillaume Canet and featuring a seasoned international cast including Kristin Scott Thomas, Jean Rochefort and Nathalie Baye, "Tell No One" is determined to drag you to the edge of your seat. The tagline alone, "8 years ago, Alex's wife was MURDERED. Today ... She e-mailed him," should be enough of a grabber for you to give this one a shot.
As they did in the '60s and '70s with the hard-boiled novels of such American writers as David Goodis and Jim Thompson, the French have taken a novel by contemporary American thriller writer Harlan Coben and given it a French twist.
Francois Cluzet (the French Dustin Hoffman) plays Alex Beck, a melancholy pediatrician who lives constantly in the shadow of his wife's murder eight years previous. Rendered unconscious at the scene, he awoke in the hospital a prime suspect and a sudden, confused widower. Eventually the police add his wife to the list of victims of a notorious serial killer but were not happy about it.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Meanwhile, Alex tries to get on with his life but is forever tied to his dead childhood sweetheart. Her family also suffers, and he pays them regular, sad visits where a huge emptiness lingers between them.
All this turns upside down when not only does he receive a mysterious e-mail showing his very much alive wife staring woefully into a camera, but the police also discover the bodies of two long dead men near the "murder" site. Buried with a bloody bat and gunshot wounds, one of these seemingly disconnected "victims" had a safe-deposit key in his pocket that leads to a shotgun belonging to Alex that ballistically matches another supposedly unrelated murder. Also found are photos of his wife showing her having taken a horrific beating a year or so previous to her "murder." Did I mention the box was registered by her? Whew! This is in the first half-hour -- and all I'm going to tell you. Let's just say Alex is in for a rough week!
Adding a heaping of Hitchcock and a pinch of Polanski, "Tell No One" aims for classic thriller status and darn near makes it. Throw in some shockingly violent moments, a crooked politician, a dogged police inspector, some nasty villains, including one sports bra-wearing lady who has a seat-squirming knowledge of organ placement, and you have all the satisfying elements in place as we "run" along with poor Alex. A swell soundtrack featuring Jeff Buckley and U2 amps up the mood.
The quibbles are minor, mainly involving possibly one too many tropes mixed with one too many denouements. All in all, there is much here to recommend, particularly for summer moviegoers looking for a more old school cerebral "thrill ride."