Having raced around from TGI Friday’s, I settled into my seat in the Soho Curzon mid way through the trailers for forthcoming attractions. Suddenly one trailer ended and Tell No One started. But no BBFC classification certificate popped up on screen! Most unusual.
Tell No One starts with Alexandre and Margot Beck driving along the long country roads towards the beautiful lake where they met as children. It’s an annual pilgrimage on their anniversary, back to their favourite place for a spot of skinny dipping and basking in the summer sun.
Except Margot is murdered, and Alex is knocked unconscious into the lake. Five minutes into the film, and I wondered if any of the film’s cast were still alive!
Eight years later ... and the main story starts. Somehow Alex survived. And on the eighth anniversary he receives a email. Clicking on the link at the specified time, he’s directed to a webcam at the top of an escalator. Margot walks past, looking up at the camera. “Tell no one. They’re watching” is the message. How is it possible? He saw her coffin at the crematorium. She couldn’t be alive ...
The next two hours are spent watching Alex struggling to piece together the little information he can find out about Margot’s death. It’s like watching the layers being put back onto an onion. Bodies found near the lake stir the police investigation back into action, with forensic links back to Alex. Photographs in safe boxes. Lawyers. Guns. And some killings. Missing coroner’s photographs. He always was a suspect. Is he being set up?
In the frame, and on the run, Alex leads the gendarmes on a great chase through Paris. On foot! It’s not one continuous shot like the extended scene in Children of Men, but it brings some light relief to the unfolding human disaster.
Alex’s luck eventually changes when the chief of police, a man showing signs of OCD and a stickler for detail, starts believing in Alex and stops trying to frame him. “All I want is the truth.”
Despite being 125 minutes long, the film has a gentle pace that keeps the story moving. Unlike Zodiac, I found it to be engaging, with human characters unravelling rather than police procedure. The level of family intrigue is reminiscent of some of the Danish films I’ve seen—see the review of After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet).
It’s a messy film. One where the bloodshed and hurt might have been minimised if the events of eight years ago had been left to lie. But there’s a strength and resilience to Alex’s character. And the twists and turns keep the full story from being revealed until the final minutes. Well worth a watch.