Guillaume Canet is an actor turned director seemingly taking the same career path as Ben Affleck. Both at one time were considered heartthrobs but have now focused more on directing mature thrillers with much success. Canet’s 2006 “Tell No One” is one of these films. After a brief dinner scene introducing most of the main characters, “Tell No One” begins with married couple Alexandre and Margot Beck (Francois Cluzet and Marie-Josée Croze) spending the evening at their long visited spot in the secluded French countryside, a place they have known since they were kids. Suddenly and out of the sight of her husband, Margot is killed. Upon hearing her screams, Alexandre runs to her aid only to be knocked unconscious and left for dead. The film then fast-forward’s 8 years, showing a disheartened Alexandre continuing to live his life as a pediatrician by day and a morose, chain-smoking widower by night. It is said after an initial investigation, the police cleared him of any wrong doing. The evidence from the crime scene matched the MO of a serial killer and he was apprehended and tried. Some recent new evidence is uncovered which brings Alexandre back into the reopened investigation, bringing back some terrible emotions for him. Within days, he is sent a mysterious link to his email from an anonymous source which completely twists his thoughts on what may have happened that disastrous night 8 years earlier. This new information sends Alexandre on a mission to seek the truth.
“Tell No One” shares a similar plot structure to “The Fugitive” where as the main character is on the run from supposedly killing his wife and has to evade the police to solve the crime himself. However, various plot twists do help differentiate it in the end. There is some nice tension mounted up throughout the film which gives it a slow but kinetic feel at the same time. The plot is always moving forward even during some of the slower scenes. There is a constant flow of information, names, dates and meetings which creates a lot of relationships and timelines to keep track of. Many scenes involve information that happened 8 years earlier and was not seen on screen which can be confusing at times. That may sound like a negative but in this case it works towards the mystery and confusion Alexandre is experiencing. However, even with all that information flying about, there aren’t too many clues given until the end when the audience is given, as what the police say is, an orgy of evidence.
Francois Cluzet is terrific as the frenzied Alexandre. His movements and facial tics bleed realism as a confused man that has everything on the line. When he is on the run, one can’t help but make a visual connection to Dustin Hoffman’s “Marathon Man.” Not only does Cluzet look eerily similar to Hoffman but there are some similar tracking shots of him running frantically in the streets as well. It is the most action packed scene in the film and it has a certain realism to it as he is a normal guy doing normal feats. There is nothing extraordinary about his escape, he simply manages to keep getting evading the police. (However, I will say for a chain smoker, he has a hell of a set of lungs on him to be able to run for as long as he did.) The entire cast does an excellent job in their roles; Marie-Josée Croze is equally as compelling as the missing wife; Kristin Scott Thomas is natural as one of Alex’s confiding helpers.
There is some gorgeous cinematography through the film. As well, there are some nicely edited scenes especially near the beginning where in a drunken stupor Alexandre is to simultaneously remembering the faces of his friends and family at their wedding and again at Margot’s funeral. It is a nice artistic touch that is expertly executed. A nice soundtrack bolsters the visuals with the likes of U2 and Jeff Buckley. Even though the story may be confusing there is a nice roundup at the end. This is also the type of film that benefits from multiple viewings.
Music Box Films presents “Tell No One” in its full 2.35:1 aspect ratio using a VC-1 encode that looks spectacular. Clarity is the big stand out on this disc. You would almost think this film was shot digitally instead of on film. There are many scenes of foliage and nature and they provide a nice sense of depth. Color is another winner in the presentation. Many scenes are color with some artistic intent to help evoke a nostalgic feeling. In these scenes, a sun-baked hue to provide a sunny, golden afternoon feeling. Black levels remain strong during the nighttime scenes with only mininal crushing. Overall, it looks tremendous.
Here is where some slight disappointment comes into the HD presentation. There are two track options on the disc. The main choice is a lossy French 5.1 Dolby Digital track and for those not interested in reading subtitles there is a lossless PCM 2.0 English track. The French track is suitable for this type of film. It is largely talky with only a few scenes that would demand much directionality and punch. Dialogue is clear and realistic and is anchored nicely to the front of the sound stage. There is some notable LFE during scenes with gunfire and speeding cars whizzing by. Even though it is a strong sounding track, it’s unfortunate that it’s not in HD. The subtitles will occasionally dip into the black bar area at the bottom of the image.
The first extra is an hour long Blu-ray exclusive look into the adaption of the book into film called “The B Side”. It goes into the process of how the filmmakers went about creating the atmosphere and look of the film. It’s a mostly interesting piece that lovers of the film should enjoy. Next are some Deleted Scenes that are more like scene extensions. There is nothing too different from the final product. Last is a Gag Reel that is pretty standard stuff. There are some rather humorous moments of Cluzet falling repeatedly. It’s nice to see they had fun making a movie that deals with tension and rather morose themes. Fans should be aware there are a couple of extras missing that are found on the French import.
“Tell No One” is an exciting thriller in the vein of “The Fugitive” set in Paris and the surrounding countryside. It is a beautiful looking film with rich cinematography helping to create an experience of danger, mystery and nostalgia. The finale is a rewarding conclusion to the confusing events that lead up to it. With fantastic video and strong, albeit lossy, audio, and a nice Blu-ray exclusive extra, fans of this film will happy with the way the Blu-ray has been treated.