Posted by: Paul | August 25, 2010

Tell No One

Isn’t it time the term ‘World Cinema’ was discontinued? A great film is a great film, no matter where it’s from or what language it’s in.

This great film, as it happens, is French. Recorded it off BBC4 in about February and it’s one of those things, subtitled movies often go to the bottom of the list, to be replaced with fodder which doesn’t tax you too much. However, the soundtrack is entirely by English-language artists, which can be a little disorienting when you’re trying to switch between reading subtitles, interpreting on-screen action, and trying to figure out who it is that’s playing in the background. Add to that a labyrinthine plot, and it’s almost too much for a simple man, incapable as he is of multi-tasking.

Doctor (and spooky Dustin Hoffman lookalike) Alex Beck goes to the same swimming lake every summer with his wife Margot. They’ve been together since they were children, and one night after a petty squabble, Margot dives off the jetty, swims back to the car on the other side, and disappears. Hearing screams and a struggle, Alex goes to help, is knocked out by an unseen assailant and falls unconscious into the lake, waking up hours later on the jetty. Days later, Margot turns up murdered, under the MO of a serial killer who is swiftly caught and confesses – but not to killing her.

Eight years later, the bodies of two men are discovered on the property bordering the lake. The case is reopened after Alex’s blood is found on a baseball bat with the bodies, and he instantly comes under suspicion – did he arrange to have his wife killed so he could benefit from her life insurance? Meanwhile, Alex himself receives a mysterious email, stating the anniversary of Margot’s death, and saying “6.15pm. Follow this link. Tell No One. They are watching.” At the end of the link is a CCTV camera. Standing at the top of an escalator, through the grainy image…could that be Margot?

If that wasn’t twisty and turny enough for you, rest assured, that’s just the first twenty minutes. What follows is a gripping chase thriller which encompasses many further characters and stories – it doesn’t all start and end with Margot and Alex, and it resolves itself in an eminently satisfying fashion, and features one of the best car stunts I’ve seen in a movie outside Hollywood. It’s adapted from a Harlan Coben novel and I’m surprised that France was the first place to make it – it’s very filmic, and could just as easily be set in New York or LA as Paris. Well worth seeking out.

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