Owen Gleiberman
July 11, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tell No One

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
125 minutes
Limited Release Date
07/02/08
performer
Francois Cluzet, Marie-Josee Croze, Kristin Scott-Thomas
director
Guillaume Canet
distributor
Europa
author
Guillaume Canet
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an A-

It’s been said that even Howard Hawks, the director of The Big Sleep, and Raymond Chandler, who wrote the novel that it was based on, were never entirely sure if its plot made sense. The result was the most fabled and mesmerizing labyrinth in Hollywood history — a movie in which confusion, and the promise that it will all become clear, wires you to the screen. Tell No One, a French psychosexual thriller (it’s based on an American novel by Harlan Coben), has some of that same strategy of narrative murk employed as a suspense narcotic. It’s The Big Sleep meets Vertigo with a dash of CSI. François Cluzet, who’s like a terse Gallic Dustin Hoffman, plays a pediatrician who got knocked into a coma the night his wife (Marie-Josée Croze) was killed, apparently by the same goons. Eight years later, when the case is reopened (due to a pair of corpses dug up in a nearby woods), Cluzet receives a series of anonymous video e-mails indicating that his wife may still be alive. He also finds himself a suspect on the run. At a certain point, you’re forced to hang on to the events for dear life and leave your desire for crystalline logic behind. What makes this cathartic, not confounding, is that here, as in Vertigo, the possibility of a woman who died and now lives all but demands a complication a bit out of our grasp. Tell No One‘s plot thickens in about five ways at once, but they’re all connected. The issue of how is a riddle that does more than tease — it gives you an itch you won’t want to stop scratching. A-

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