It seems common practice that, in the case of a murder or disappearance, the spouse of the missing/deceased is often considered among the suspects, if they aren't considered the primary suspect. It's kind of a mental screw job, really, to imagine losing your partner, and to top it off, be accused of being implicit in the act that caused your own loss. Sure, with life insurance policies, infidelity, and illicit drug cases, this may be the go to answer, but even the accusation can drive an innocent person to lengths they'd never considered before.
Such is the position pediatrist Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet) finds himself in, in Guillaume Canet's 'Ne le dis à personne' ('Tell No One'). Based on the novel by Harlan Coben, the film covers the events Beck muct face after his wife, Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) is found dead. Eight years have passed, but shortly after a few bodies have been uncovered where she was slain, Alexandre begins receiving emails from what appears to be his wife (and no, despite how it sounds, this is no horror film). Now, the husband has been implicated in other murders, and is on the run from aggressive cops looking for an open and shut case, while trying to uncover the truth about his wife.
Told in a non-linear fashion, where time jumps forward and backward a few times, 'Tell No One' is easy to follow, even if the story remains a mystery, with very, very few clues as to what is truly going on. This formula, which would rather provide intrigue than answers, until the very end, leads me to believe the film would have amazing replay value after a first viewing, as knowing the truths in the film will make all the scenes that at first seemed random make sense and fit in.
The acting is impeccable, with Cluzet giving the most complicated role his all. The trio of Nathalie Baye, Marina Hands, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Alex's attorney, sister, and sister's wife all provide strong performances that feel completely immersed in the roles, to the point that I didn't even think twice about Scott Thomas' inclusion until I saw the credits. The scene stealer in the midst is easily André Dussollier, the father of Margot, a retired police captain who seems implicit in the entire ordeal from the start.
The film covers a myriad of situations, that all feel very life-like and authentic, from allegations of abuse, to the efforts that would be made to cover up said incidents, to the accusations of such that could damn a man considering the fate of the woman abused. Alexandre Beck may seem like a man possessed after he receives the email, but with his world falling apart around him, through no fault of his own, his actions are justified. Characters like Bruno (Gilles Lellouche) exist only to serve a purpose for Alex's escape, their inclusion earlier in the film feel a hair over-convenient.
Just like another foreign gem, 'Let the Right One In,' 'Tell No One' is already in line for an English remake (through Miramax and Focus Features), but the odds of any retelling of this tale, simplified and exaggerated for less patient English audiences, having the same effect as this French production are slim at best. Canet (who also appears as Philippe Neuville in the film) crafts a taut thriller, that has believable twists (some of which are predictable, some are out of the blue, but in retrospect are clear and believable), strong performances, and constant tension, keeping this audience of one glued in his chair throughout the two hour runtime.
The Disc: Vital Stats
MPI Media Group brings 'Tell No One' to Blu-ray on a BD50 disc, with two trailers before the film that are not skippable through the top menu button, only passable through pressing next chapter. The film was also released on Blu-ray in its native France by Fox Pathe Europa, in a release that trumps this American release hands down (more on that later).
'Tell No One' sports a 1080p, VC-1 encode that does the beautiful film, and its lush cinematography justice.
Skin tones are natural, while colors are strikingly sharp and deep, and contrast runs strong throughout the entire film. There are no real soft shots in the mix, but any scene featuring nature (a tree, or forest, for example) is rich with foliage of great clarity and definition. Hairs pop right off actor's heads, while edges are beautiful and natural. The film has a few shots that screen infinite depth, while black levels are solid, with no problems in shadows at all.
There are some scenes in the second act that, to give a frantic feeling, are filmed with some very shaky camera work, that takes a bit away from clarity (think 'Transformers'), while there was also some problematic aliasing in the walls of the freeway later in the same segment of the film. So, really, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous transfer, with just a problematic segment that keeps things from receiving marks for perfection.
Merda! Merda! Merda!
This domestic release of 'Tell No One' is trumped by the French import of the film, as the only lossless track found is on the French Stereo mix, while the 5.1 version of the film is stuck with a lossy Dolby Digital track (the default for the film).
For the 5.1 mix, the film still remains somewhat front heavy. Ambience hits the rears at times, but isn't truly immersive. There's movement in the vehicular scenes, and a light breeze from time to time, but it is lacking any real definition, and just sounds like noise for the sake of it here. The high range is nice, but the low end is pathetic, with bass levels that are flat lousy, even in the soundtrack and score elements. Even U2's With or Without You (no, that's no joke) sounds flat in this sense. Car crashes lack any dearth, to boot, and to top it all off, some points in the score have an odd pitch that resonates in an off frequency that grates on the nerves horrifically. Dialogue is fairly clear, but is sometimes overpowered by some other elements of the mix that are weak on their own.
There is also an English Dolby Digital Stereo dub, but with two sound options for the authentic language, I see no point in visiting it. The English subtitles for the French track are split between the picture and the black space below, which would make some project users a hair upset. When the subs are just one line, they stay in the picture.
Insult to injury, not so much, but a slap in the face, perhaps. After the domestic release got a lesser audio mix, it hurts to say that there are also supplements from the French version that did not make their way over to this disc. What is on this release isn't bad, by any means, it just would have been nicer to have everything all in one nice little package.
Color me impressed with 'Tell No One.' This film is really, really good, and worth buying blind even if the Blu-ray was an utter disaster. This release has inferior audio and supplements compared to the import version, so I'd heartily recommend going that route and paying a few bucks more. This film is worth every penny.