Tell No One

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Penelope
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Postby Penelope » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:27 am

I'm fairly certain Nathalie Baye had more than one scene--at least 3 that I can think of (though, admittedly, they weren't long scenes). My biggest casting complaint was their failure to properly utilize the OMG-soooo-sexy Thierry Neuvic, who only hovered the background of all his scenes.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Precious Doll » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:59 am

My partner and I both hated Tell No One and bitterly complained to what is supposed to be an 'art house cinema' for showing such rubbish.

And what a waste of Nathalie Baye & Jalil Lespert, one scene each if I recall. Hope they were well paid. Guillaume Canet should stick to acting, an earlier directoral effort Mon idole is just as bad.

I really should start becoming more discriminating when it comes to French films, I see everything that comes my way, but I always enjoy listening to French being spoken.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Penelope
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Postby Penelope » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:15 pm

Funny, as much as I enjoyed the film, particularly, as you say, the concentration on character and how the little things sneak up on you rather than being announced as they would be in a Hollywood film...and the chase across the highway, in all it's classic late 60s/early 70s directness, rivals any action scene I've encountered in the past few years...I nevertheless found the movie wanting. After the film was over, certain parts of the solution just bugged me, and thinking back, I realized that there were some holes.

But perhaps I need to see it again, and I very much would like to.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:32 pm

Stephen Holden in last Friday's Times compared Tell No One to North by Northwest. It's mostly a superficial analogy, based on plot -- guy mistakenly thought a murderer goes on the run, blah-blah. But in one sense it did recall the Hitchcock classic for me: I saw North by Northwest many years ago, in Fisk Hall at Northwestern; when it was over, my girlfriend at the time remarked it was impossible to believe we were still sitting in the auditorium, so taken away had we been by the film. I had the same feeling as Tell No One came to its end.

I'm not quite sure why I felt this. It's not as if the film is any structural breakthrough (a la Usual Suspects or Memento), has an especially deep social context (think Chinatown), or even features a wow twist (Psycho, Vertigo). It's based on a Harlan Coben thriller, one I'd actually read (though the beauty of Coben: he's written so many vaguely similar books, I didn't remember much beyond the initial premise), and it's hardly a revelatory one. But the writer and director have made it into one of the best character-centered adult thrillers of recent years, and the fact it was made in France rather than under the studio system is unmistakably part of the reason. The central character, and those surrounding him, are far more flawed than most Hollywood efforts would allow, and the line between good guy and villain among the supporting cast is tantalizingly ambiguous. The action is often exciting, but sequences always seem concentrated on advancing the story -- and keeping the characters attached to it -- rather than the pure kinetics we get in even the better US efforts. The dialogue is often sprightly (Nathalie Baye's lawyer has some especially good stuff), but you never feel lines were written to make the audience whoop.
One shudders to think how different the Hollywood version would have been (for openers, a middle-aged lead -- unless Harrison Ford was available -- would have been unthinkable, and there would have been several loud explosions). It wouldn't have been anywhere near this gripping, or have stuck with me as long. A week later, I'm still replaying parts of it.

A few things I especially like: Many mystery thrillers -- and I've read a lot -- lose plausibility in attempting to create suspicion around assorted characters: too many of them are given quirks (unexpectedly cheating on a spouse, being gay, hiding a red-herring secrets) that serve no larger purpose. This at some point seems to be the case in this film, too -- but it turns out everything actually fits neatly together around one thing… The movie also manages a modicum of serious thematic resonance: at least three separate elements of the plot could be filed under What Parents Will Do to Protect Their Children. Not Chekhov, but it gives the film emotional/literary grounding… The film doesn't spell out character relationships for us: it seems to take a while to specifically place some of them. This actually may be a flaw for some -- it can make the movie feel like it's going too fast to absorb everything -- but I liked it compared to the programmatic Hollywood style. It also enabled certain subtle observations…for one, the fact that siblings can often find it easier communicating with their sib's partners than with each other… I love the tone of the ending, which I think manages to be happy and tragic at the same moment. (I'll be more specific on that when I know others have seen the film and I'm not spoiling it)

One more personal note: the most grueling moment in the film for me was when the main character, running to escape, takes a brutally realistic fall. If anyone was wondering what it felt like when I broke my arm last year, this moment captures it to a T. My wife said she could feel my shudder at seeing it re-enacted.


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