Out here in the wilds of the suburbs where films like Darjeeling Express are considered arthouse oddities, going to the movies means deciding which CGI-tacular will be the least boring — Iron Man or Hulk, say. So we put a couple of precious gallons of gasoline in the Rav and ventured into Chicago’s north side to catch Tell No One. It’s a perfectly accessible little mystery/actioner adapted from one of Harlan Coben’s bestselling, give-em-what-they-want thrillers, but since it was made by a French guy in France, with French actors who speak French and even read French on their French computers, you can find the film only at the the sort of theater that screens Sundance runners-up.
The set-up is irresistible to us thriller fans: Our protaganist, still mourning the death of his wife who had been brutally murdered eight years earlier, gets an anonymous email with code words that only he and his wife shared. Following the instructions in the email — especially the one that insists he “tell no one” — he logs on at a specified minute to a live webcam where he sees a blurry image of his wife. Mon dieu! Elle vit!
Qu’est-ce que c’est??!
Well! If that’s not enough to hook you, never mind. Suffice it to say: mayhem ensues. There are lots — LOTS! — of dead bodies before all the mysteries are cleared up.
The movie — it translates to Ne Le Dis à Personne — is an unbelievably faithful adaptation of the book, except for its lifting everyone out of Corben’s usual New Jersey setting, whisking them across the Atlantic, and landing them in Paris. Too bad the Frenchiness will drive away Subtitle-phobic viewers, but I think it actually improves the story. The plot is so far-fetched that it benefits from a foreign setting: You follow the unfolding of the byzantine crimes and deceptions, and you figure, well, all these goings-on may be as goofy as an episode of F-Troop, but — who knows? — maybe that’s how things are over in Europe.