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    Tell No One

    Maman's the word

    A two year old French blockbuster, based on a best-selling American mystery, finally makes it to our shores and it may well prove the much needed antidote to our annual outbreak of Summer Sequel-itis.


    "Tell No One," Harlan Coben's International best-selling mystery/thriller became the most decorated mystery novel of 2001, nominated for an Edgar, an Anthony, a Macavity, a Nero, and a Barry. (Didn't know there were so many mystery awards, did you?) It also won the Audie Award for Best Audio and, well... you get the picture.

    Original title: Ne Le Dis ˆ Personne.
    Directed by: Guillaume Canet.
    Produced by: Alain Attal.
    Written by: Guillaume Canet, Philippe Lefebvre.
    Adapted from "Tell No One" by: Harlan Coben.
    Cast: Franois Cluzet, Marie-JosŽe Croze, AndrŽ Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Franois BerlŽand, Nathalie Baye, Jean Rochefort.
    Cinematography: Christophe Offenstein.
    Edited by: HervŽ de Luze.
    Music by: Mathieu Chedid.
    Production design by: Carine Sarfati.
    Art direction by: Carine Sarfati.
    Costumes by: Carine Sarfati.
    In French with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    And this is certainly the picture to get. Co-written and directed by (the very handsome) French actor and sophomore director Guillaume Canet ("Mon Idole," 2002), "Tell No One" won the 2007 Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine CŽsars (the French Oscar) winning four, including best actor (Franois Cluzet) and best director, making Canet the youngest director ever to win the CŽsar. American audiences will recognize him as the guy who cedes Virginie Ledoyen to Leonardo DiCaprio in Danny Boyle's "The Beach."

    The Coben novel bends time as it sucks readers into Dr. Beck's life eight years after the murder of his wife. The film concentrates as much on their love story and some fairly intricate familial relationships as on the mystery itself. Transferring the story from New York to France includes a few name changes — Pediatrican David Beck becomes Pediatrician Alexandre (Alex for short) Beck, his wife Elizabeth becomes Margot, while the already French sounding site of their tragedy remains Lake Charmaine.

    Tell No One  
    Canet creates a truly masterful second film based on Coben's multi-layered storylines. Everything in Alex's life is either before or after Margot's murder. The film starts before, with a joyous Alex and Margot surrounded by friends, then shows us a romantic nude moonlight swim after which Alex, knocked unconscious and in a coma for three days, awakes to the horror of Margot's brutal death at the hands of a notorious serial killer. The local police have their suspicions but Alex is cleared and his post-Margot life goes on.

      "Tell No One" won the 2007 Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine CŽsars (the French Oscar) winning four, including best actor (Franois Cluzet) and best director, making Canet the youngest director ever to win the CŽsar.
    His heart however, has been cremated along with Margot's body and he's only really himself with the children he treats in his practice at the hospital. Friends, especially the always wonderful Kristen Scott Thomas as the lesbian lover of his equestrian sister, try to help and so eight years pass. Then one night he receives a mysterious e-mail containing a video of a very live Margot, ending with the admonition, "Tell no one!"

    Events conspire to frame Alex for yet a different murder and he begins to run (literally) for his life through the streets of Paris — as exciting a bit of filmmaking as any cgi comic book superhero will muster all summer — the more so for being real. Canet's Paris is the antithesis of the sanitized version seen in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 "AmŽlie." To say anything more about the plot would amount to spoilers.

    Tell No One  
    "Tell No One" is filled with la crme de la crme of amazing French actors such as Jean Rochefort and AndrŽ Dossollier who play two very different fathers, each of whom will stop at nothing to protect his child; Natalie Baye is Alex's straight talking lawyer and Marie-JosŽe Croze is Margot. Then there are two phenomenal actors named Franois: BerlŽand plays a dedicated police inspector and CŽsar winner Cluzet (a dead ringer for the "Tootsie"-era Dustin Hoffman) is our peripatetic pediatrician hero.

    Even the soundtrack, containing a few English language tunes like Otis Redding's "For Your Precious Love" and the Jeff Buckley version of "Lilac Wine," enhances the storyline. Ironically, Canet's "Mon Idole" (in which he also co-starred), wasn't very well received by the critics during Lincoln Center's 2003 "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema." Upping his game substantially with "Tell No One," Canet is definitely a director to watch and that's something you can tell everyone.

    JULY 4, 2008

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