catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 10 :: 2009.05.08 — 2009.05.22


Don’t tell

Absolutely not! No one — I mean nobody, will forgive me if I reveal too much about Tell No One’s rousing twists and turns. So, to avoid being bludgeoned by blunt objects, I commit to giving you just enough to tease your palate. Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One, based on American writer Harlan Coben’s novel, is a finely constructed labyrinth

As the idiom goes, “Love is a many splendored thing.” Love’s coming and going, found in the cellophane pages of old photo-albums, full of fond memories, slow-dancing to the mellow-sweet tunes of Otis Redding, inevitably ebb and flow, giving us distinct tastes for both the sweet and the sour. The reality is, we can’t live in those pages. We can only visit them. This is how our story begins, with a visit.

Alex (Francois Cluzet) and Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) have been in love since childhood. Celebrating their wedding anniversary, framed in a playfully bucolic scene, the lovers swim in a pond situated in the woods just beyond a rose garden of plush pinks. There, in the water on the narrow raft, their gamboling striptease and warm embraces reveal a lucid love, a picture of intimacy and trust. However, our visit offers us only a limited perspective, and the emerging realities quickly demand that we believe no one, trust no one and tell no one in a world in which nothing is as it seems. Life’s most tragic moments accost us in the most unanticipated ways, leaving our most cherished memories lying dead, only a few feet away. It’s then that we know our visit is over.

Tell No One, like sitting in a pitch-black room (which you are), waiting, never quite knowing from which direction the surprise will emerge, will overtake you. It’s the ambivalence that makes the cinematic experience what it is. Always mindful of the vicariousness, we can face the fear of the unknown.

A puzzle is perhaps the most simple and fitting example of Tell No One’s sentiment, with its teasingly dangling denouements that keep you second-guessing right up to your breaking points. Canet delivers a gripping film from an array of characters, painting a palpable portrait of human relationships where trust is an illusion. It gets you leaning one way, then jolts you another, and leaves you disoriented. It’s here, in these pockets of perplexity, where your mind’s all mixed up, and you’re trying to reorient yourself, that the thrills are delivered. Tell No One is a movie you’re likely to violate rather quickly, by telling everyone.  

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