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Tell No One



 It’s kind of weird that “Tell No One” is a French film, because it feels so very American.   It’s basically “The Fugitive” with a few twists and differences, but those differences make it a smarter, more complex, more emotionally powerful movie.   

Francois Cluzet (who looks, and even acts, just like Dustin Hoffman) is a pediatrician and a widower, whose wife was brutally murdered at the family home seven years before.   Except suddenly, he receives a video-email that indicates she might be alive.  At the same time, two more bodies are unexpectedly found in the same vicinity where she died, and the police reopen the investigation, with Cluzet as their prime suspect.   Other, more shady parties are interested in these new developments as well, but “Tell No One” keeps the identity and motives of these bad guys a secret for as long as it possibly can.  

It’s a race to see who can discover the truth first – the cops, Cluzet, or the bad guys, and this is where the film feels most like “The Fugitive.”   Cluzet call in favors, threatens relatives, and uses every possible resource at his disposal to find out the truth, and we are right there with him.   “Tell No One” is a tightly told story, never giving away a plot point or revealing a detail until absolutely necessary.  The final revelations are both thrilling and satisfying, and I was thrilled at the way director Guillame Canet observes the Law of Economy of Characters without giving away the true villain – I got to the end and realized he was there, all along, right under my nose, and I never realized it.   Just the way a thriller ought to work.  

I just discovered, thanks to Wikipedia, that “Tell No One” is based on a book by the same name written by Harlan Coben, and in the book, takes place in New York.  I guess that explains why it feels so American.)  

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  1. The “deus ex” pattern mieetonnd by Thordr is the reason I read science fiction but avoid fantasy.I think an integral feature of good science fiction is that it takes place in a world which need not be our own, but in which the rules of the game are defined early (long before they are relevant to the plot development).Good science fiction can contain entirely implausible things, and can even have things we’d regard as magic (an excellent example is John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, one of my favourite books). But if the reader knows very precisely what their applicability is, there can be no deus ex.

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