The film “Tell No One” was adapted from the novel of the same name written by master mystery writer Harlan Coben in 2002. The movie takes place in Paris whereas Harlan Coben’s original story had its setting in the United States. All of the cast members are French actors and actresses with the exception of one, and the film uses sub-titles for the French dialogue used.
Arc De Triomphe, Paris - Wikimedia
Alexandre Beck (Francois Cluzet) and his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) have known each other since they were childhood sweethearts. The first scenes show them as a married couple at their lakeside home skinny-dipping. When Margot left to return to the house, Alex heard a muffled scream and was then knocked out by an intruder, causing him to be in a coma for three days. The police suspected Alex of misdoings but were unable to prove it. Margot’s father Jacques, a former police inspector (Andre Dussollier) identified Margot’s body which was bludgeoned beyond recognition.
Attention is Refocused on Alex
Fast forward to eight years later when Dr. Alexandre Beck continued his studies as a pediatrician and worked in a Paris hospital. He never remarried and still mourned the disappearance of his wife. When the bodies of two male Caucasians were found near the site where Alex and Margot were swimming, the police decided to reopen their investigation of Margot’s death and concentrate once again on Alex as a suspect. A mysterious key was spotted where the two bodies were found. A weapon was found in Alex’s apartment. A serial killer who had confessed to seven murders denied that he had anything to do with Margot’s death, but the condition of her body was similar to his modus operandi.
Francois Cluzet - Wikimedia
Anonymous E-mail Messages
At about the same time, Alex started to receive anonymous e-mail messages with a video of a woman who looked just like Margot. The e-mail contained the words “Tell no one. They’re watching.”
Alex’s closest friend since the death of Margot was Helene Perkins (Kristin Scott Thomas), who was also the lover of Alex’s young sister Anne (Marina Hands), a talented equestrian. The equestrian shows which Anne entered were a delightful and colorful distraction from the serious business at hand. It was through his friend Helene that Alex acquired a defense attorney Elysabeth Feldman (Nathalie Baye).
Alex is Questioned by the Police
When the police questioned Alex, they asked if he knew a woman named Juliet Langlois. He said that his wife’s middle name was Juliet and that she was brought up on Rue Langlois. He was also asked if he ever beat his wife, since the body that was identified as Margot’s had serious bruises. Alex said that he had never beat Margot.
Marie-Josee Croze - Wikimedia
Anne and Margot were Best Friends
Alex’s sister Anne had told Alex that Margot was in a car accident where she received bruises on her face. Margot told Anne to state that she was with Margot in the accident. Anne swore to Alex that it was the first time that Margot had ever lied to him; she was Margot’s best friend and did what she was asked to do. The police revealed that there was no trace of any accident that could have occurred at that time.
Alex spoke again to Jacques to ascertain what sort of condition Margot’s body was in when he identified his daughter. Jacques said there were many bruises on her body.
The Chase Begins
Even though Alex’s female attorney Elysabeth Feldman had begun to disbelieve in Alex’s innocence, she warned him that the police were on their way to his hospital. Alex left his office by way of a window and started a chase by the police which lasted through one half hour of the story. Francois Cluzet who portrayed Alex was obviously in very good physical condition, as demonstrated by his run through the streets of Paris as the police followed close behind. The viewer is treated to a tour of Paris unlike any that has ever been shown in as film. The scenes of Paris are incredible. At one point, Alex was forced to hide in a dumpster as the police ran by, and shared his quarters with a rat who was rummaging through the trash himself. Providentially, he was aided by a criminal whose son he saved from death in the early scenes of the film. Alex was able totally to elude the police.
Marina Hands - Wikimedia
Another Computer Message
Alex’s computer again revealed a message which he ascertained was from Margot. It said “Monceau Park tomorrow. Be discreet. I love you.” Alex spotted the woman from a distance, but was unable to get close to her before she disappeared.
The Body Did Not Belong to Margot
The police offered an apology to Alex when they found the presence of heroin in her body through reviewing the autopsy. Also, the body was 1.75 meters tall which was not the height of Margot. It was Margot’s father, Jacques Laurentin, who had requested the autopsy.
There were so many red herrings (distractions from the real issue) in this film that it was difficult to follow at times. The innocent appeared to be guilty and the guilty, innocent. The use of Paris as a background was a clever ploy. An American setting would not play well for some of the underhanded pranks that took place.
The startling and unexpected ending will not be revealed here. I was caught unawares by the solution. I will admit that it was very clever.
Andre Dussollier - Wikimedia
Francois Cluzet was an excellent choice for the hero of this film. He was the prime mover of the action. A Dustin Hoffman look-alike, he obtained the viewer’s sympathy from the very start. That is not to say that the auxiliary cast members were not up to par. Each played an important role and helped Cluzet to bring out his own best qualities. Cluzet won the French Cesar Award for his performance as well as the French Étoiles d'Or Award and the French Globes de Cristal Award, indicating his popularity with the French audience. The honors he received were well-deserved.