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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 74.0° F  A Few Clouds


Tell No One: Cherchez la femme

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There must be a reasonable explanation, and the French are nothing if not rational. That's what I kept telling myself as Guillaume Canet's Tell No One unfolded on the screen. Actually, it doesn't unfold so much as twist and turn, like dough being shaped into a pretzel. I'm willing to stick with a thriller quite a long time as it doles out information, dropping clues hither and yon. The thing about Tell No One is that the more information it doles out the more confused you become. The other thing about Tell No One is that the more confused you become the more fun you're having. That's how it was for me, anyway. You may find yourself hurling popcorn at the screen.

Franois Cluzet, who looks exactly like Dustin Hoffman if Hoffman were French and a little hunkier, plays Alex Becker, a Parisian pediatrician whose wife was murdered eight years ago, not exactly right before his eyes but within hearing range. They'd been childhood sweethearts, and Alex still hasn't gotten over it. Neither have the police, who think Alex did it. Then a mysterious email arrives, seemingly from Alex's wife. "Tell no one," it says. "They're watching." Indeed they are, whoever "they" are. And Alex is soon launched on a quest that combines elements of Vertigo and The Fugitive. Only, instead of a one-armed man, there are lots of men, many of them armed.

That we don't find out what they're up to until one of the characters is delivering one of those tell-all confessions could be construed as a flaw. But that the tell-all confession may turn out to be just another reasonable explanation could be construed as a strength, even a masterstroke. At any rate, I saw no loose ends hanging around afterwards. Tell No One is less a whodunit than a whodunwhat, and you may find it more intriguing than gripping. It's also rather touching as Alex delves into the past of a woman he thought he knew completely but may not have known at all. How could she have hidden it all so well, so long? I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.

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