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Heroes of the Zeroes: Tell No One

by on October 24, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Tell No One”
Rated R

Guillaume Canet’s “Tell No One” offered a rare reversal of cinematic Francophilia — a French film based on an American novel (by pulp-mystery author Harlan Coben).

The results were breathlessly entertaining — a 2006 French-language “Fugitive” with enough red herrings for a fish market and a wind-sprint clip of intensity and immediacy peaking with a heart-stopping foot chase across a beltway.

Wearing glum beleaguerment like a Gallic Dustin Hoffman, Francois Cluzet is Alex — a doctor whose wife, Margot (Marie Jozee-Croze), died eight years earlier under mysterious circumstances near a lake.

They argued, she swam to shore, he followed her screams and was knocked cold. Who attacked him? Who called the paramedics? Who pulled him from the water? Though legally exonerated, the police still suspect Alex did it.

Alex has barely known life without his childhood sweetheart, and just as he’s adapted to this aching existence, she resurfaces via cryptic emails. Following her trail, Alex is besieged by questions of fidelity he never suspected and becomes embroiled in a sinister cover-up.

Like a merciless triathlon trainer, Canet puts Alex through paces and pain — from wincing wipeouts to anxiety over whether he’ll even recognize Margot if he finds her (songs of longing and despair from Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley and U2, along with a score propelled by a hollow-body guitar’s tremolo, augment Alex’s tremulous hopes).

Until an exposition flood so mammoth it has cresting waves, “Tell No One” is as eloquent as it is intricate — a superior depiction of crime, corruption, shame and secrecy.