I first met Guillaume Canet on the set of The Beach in Thailand in 1999. Back then he was just a young French actor picked by Danny Boyle to play Virginie Ledoyen’s unlucky boyfriend opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie version of Alex Garland’s novel. Little did I know that eight years later he would have turned into one of France’s most acclaimed writer-directors.
Adapted from Harlen Coben’s best-selling thriller, Canet's second feature Tell No One begins in the tranquil beauty of Lake Charmaine before moving to the streets of Paris where widowed paediatrician Alex Beck (played by Dustin Hoffman-lookalike Francois Cluzet) receives an email from his wife (Marie-Josée Croze) — eight years after her death. It’s a brilliant hook and with the police suspecting his involvement in both her brutal murder and that of her best friend, Alex goes on the run and the film transforms into a frantic action thriller, full of non-stop action and smartly-staged chase sequences.
As with the book it’s based on — an airport novel if there ever was one — Canet’s film twists and turns from minute to breathless minute, moving at such a cracking pace you’ve scarcely time to question the logic or ludicrousness of the plot, before Cluzet is again off, running for his wife.
With top notch support from a French-speaking Kristin Scott Thomas as Alex’s lesbian sister-in-law and the always dependable Jean Rochefort as a sinister senator and sleek, fluid camerawork from Christophe Offenstein, the film falls off the rails towards the end as the plot slows down sufficiently to explain itself, but the Parisian settings offer a refreshing change to the streets of New York or LA.