The breathless and extra crafty French thriller Tell No One is a propulsive “wrong-man” chase movie that Hitchcock would have flipped for. And while I would be lying if I said that upon first viewing that I totally followed every single plot development over the two frenetic yet somehow coherent hours that Tell No One occupies, it’s pretty clear that filmmaker Guillaume Canet has directed an awesome mind-bender that takes you on a fantastic ride. This is a complicated narrative that offers multiple twists, turns, and surprises, and the less you know about it going in, the better the viewing experience will become. I will say, at the film’s mid-section, there is a stunning foot and car chase, with one of the most spectacular high-way pile-ups I’ve ever seen. If special effects were used, they were flawless. If not, the multiple stunt drivers involved should be given medals. I’ve never seen a chase quite like it. Tell No One is a vigorously contrived thriller, almost to within an inch of its life, much like David Fincher’s vastly underrated The Game, and other brain-teasers of this sort.
But that’s sort of the point – everyone involved knows that the movie they’re in is wildly ludicrous, but it’s the level of skill that everyone brings to the table the makes Tell No One as effective as it is. The rug is continually pulled out from underneath the weary and sympathetic protagonist as well as the audience, who is consistently left at the edge of their seat. Francois Cluzet’s manly, commanding performance is engrossing to watch, and it’s crazy how much he looks like a French Dustin Hoffman. Canet’s stylish, energetic direction hurtles the movie forward at a brisk pace, never allowing you to think too hard about the ridiculous yet highly entertaining scenario that’s unfolding. This is a movie that demands multiple viewings and improves when you view it more than once because it allows you to see just how effectively Canet is able to turn the screws and keep the final truth from coming out. The “missing wife” narrative has been a constant in cinema for years, but the way that everyone takes each aspect of Tell No One up a notch, from the actors to the crew, elevates it to one of the best examples in the genre.