Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Title:Tell No One [Ne le dis à Personne]
Cast: François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze, André Dussollier, Kristin Scott Thomas, François Berléand, Nathalie Baye, Jean Rochefort, Marina Hands
Director:Guillaume Canet

Tell No One is a French thriller based on the novel by American writer Harlan Corben, transporting the setting of the novel from America to France. Shown as part of the Glasgow Film Festival, where I saw it, then again as part of the annual French Film Festival, and now approaching general release. Tell No One is a rarity, in that it is a film based on a thriller that I have read, and that i enjoyed a lot.

A couple are attacked while visiting the family's lakeside home. He wakes up in hospital, and she has vanished. A body is found, his wife, the latest victim of a serial killer. Years pass and the man rebuilds his life the best he can, working as a doctor in a city medical centre. But some questions were never answered, and the police are suddenly approaching him, apparently as a suspect again. Bodies have been found, just off the land owned by the family, two men, one of whom has a key to a locker owned by the dead woman.

Confused and upset that all this is coming up again, the man's life is entirely turned around when he receives an email, which leads him to a temporary webcam. On the camera, for a moment, his wife steps into view, looks at him, and walks away. Tell no one, her message warns, they are watching, they are listening. Things get chaotic, the police are after him, people are being killed and he is being framed, and his wife is not dead after all.

An adaptation from a novel always has a key problem - what the film shows is not what you saw in your head. Sometimes the translation is close enough that you can shrug and get on with it, sometimes not. For me, the moment where the wife reveals herself on the camera is key, and for me, it just didn't translate well enough. Though certainly, the build to that moment, the email, the time release, the tension of waiting, worked quite well. As the film hits the chaos point where everyone wants to get their hands on the lead, and he is running for his life, I started to feel that the film was attaining the kind of tension I expected.

In the end, the film does feel as though it is being true to the book in a lot of ways. The switch of locations is interesting, especially in the way that it affects the characterisation/settings. A decent enough thriller, though it never really attains the level I was wanting from the adaptation.

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