Monday, March 30, 2009

Tell No One (And Run for Your Life!)

By David Luhrssen
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An innocent man runs for his life, hunted by police convinced he’s guilty of a great crime and by shadowy forces who will kill him if he falls into their hands. It’s the core of many Alfred Hitchcock films and of Tell NoOne (2006) by French director Guillaume Canet. It’s out now on DVD.

Hitchcock has long been honored in France, whose filmmakers continue to work out his ideas in contemporary settings. In Tell No One, based on a novel by American crime writer Harlan Coben, the seemingly idyllic marriage of Alex and Margot is abruptly shattered by her murder during a weekend at their lake cottage. Although Alex was injured in the assault by unknown hands, the police have long suspected him of being the killer. Eight years after Margot’s death, workmen discover a pair of bodies buried near the crime scene and Alex begins receiving mysterious email from someone who might be his wife. But she’s dead. Everyone knows she’s dead.

Not unlike some of Hitchcock’s classics, the mechanics of the plot don’t entirely hold true when scrutinized carefully. But the story carries you along regardless. Hitch was the master of suspense; Canet plays a more subtle game, slowly drawing the viewer into a plot that must have been a page-turner as a book.

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