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Tell No One

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Les Productions du Tresor

Hardly anyone can make good old American suspense thriller like the French. "Tell No One" ("Ne le dis a personne") takes a Yank novel by Harlen Coben, transfers it across the Atlantic without a hitch, throws in a dash of Gallic spices and -- voila -- you've got an amusingly convoluted Franco-American plot-twister with a host of colorful characters and edge-of-seat moments. This second outing by actor-turned-director Guillaume Canet features many well known screen veterans so the film is built for wide international exposure.

The lovely wife (Marie-Joses Croze) of a easy-going pediatrician Dr. Alex Block (Francois Cluzet, looking much like a young Dustin Hoffman) is murdered in perplexing circumstances by a secluded lake. Eight years later, on the anniversary of her death, Alex receives disturbing emails that indicate his wife may be alive. Then two bodies get discovered in shallow graves near the murder site, possibly the corpses of her assassins. Suspicion falls on Alex.

So as the police pursue him, Alex pursues clues to his wife's whereabouts and the mystery of that terrible night at the lake. There are problems of a large cast too briefly introduced in the rush of the story so that sometimes it requires a second scene to clarify relationships. Otherwise the editing, camerawork and use of physical locations are, embarrassingly, much better than in most American exercises in this genre. This is especially true of a man-on-the-run sequence through Paris and across a motorway.

Cast standouts include Kristen Scott Thomas as an older lesbian who lives with Alex's younger sister; Nathalie Baye as a big-name lawyer; Jean Rochefort as a powerful old man with police and political connections; Gilles Lellouche as a criminal who comes to Alex's rescue; Francois Berleand as a sympathetic cop; and, most pivotally, Andre Dussollier as Alex's father-in-law.

Spicing up the entire package is a screenplay by Canet and Philippe Lefebvre that bristles with wit and energy.