Tell No One (Canet, 2006)

Tell No One, a sometimes exciting but ultimately muddled French thriller, contains far too much plot and not enough character. It claims to be an edge of your seat thriller brimming with smart twists and turns. Wrong on both counts. The premise is enticing enough – a tormented man receives a web video with his deceased spouse very much alive, eight years after her supposed brutal murder. Yet the intriguing first act turns into a mess of vague characters, convoluted narrative devices, and a lame-duck hero attempting to think outside the box. By the end of this shifty and unsatisfying story, all roads lead to redemption.

The problem lies in the fact that the hero, nor the heroine, never needed redeeming in the first place. The story doesn’t begin with a tragic inaction or guilt-ridden moment, so the ensuing conflict really originates completely for one-dimensional plot points, making the melodramatic ending even more inconsequential. Tell No One technically was released in the U.S. in 2008 and made a bundle at the box office, proving yet again American audiences prefer “familiar” foreign films, those imports that share many inept qualities with the dime a dozen homegrown thrillers gracing our silver screens each month.

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