Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tell No One (Rhoades)

Tell Everyone About ‘Tell No One’

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
My pal Sandy and I swap mystery novels – John Sanford, Jonathan Kellerman, James Lee Burke, J. A. Jance, David Baldacci, and the like.

Recently he sent me a book by Harlan Coben, a writer new to me. Seems Coben is best known for a series of mysteries about a sports agent who solves crimes. A quick read, I polished it off in one night.

I liked it well enough that I picked up a Harlan Coben paperback to read on a recent trip. Titled “Tell No One,” it was a taut little thriller about a pediatrician accused of being a serial killer. A real page-turned.

This was Coben’s first stand-alone novel since starting the other series. And it was a winner. “Tell No One” has turned out to be the bestseller of all his 17 novels to date.
Little did I know it was being made into a movie by French director Guillaume Canet.
‘Tell No One’ (French title: “Ne le dis à personne”) opens today at the Tropic Cinema. If you like mysteries, you’ll like it.

The plots of Coben’s novels “often involve the resurfacing of unresolved or misinterpreted events in the past (such as murders, fatal accidents, etc.) and often have multiple plot twists.”

And “Tell No One” is true to form.

In the book, the main characters are David Beck and his wife Elizabeth, but in writing the screenplay Canet changed the names to make them sound more Gallic. And New York locales were smoothly transitioned to Paris and its environs.

Dr. Alexandre Beck (very ably played by François Cluzet) is a French pediatrician whose wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) was brutally murdered some eight years ago. Although a serial killer was arrested, the man maintained that Margot wasn’t one of his victims. Haunted by his wife’s memory, Alex throws himself into his work.

But when two new victims turn up, the police reopen the case and focus on Alex. Even though he professes his innocence, there’s ample evidence pointing to him as the killer.

The mystery increases when Alex receives a strange e-mail with a video link showing Margot to be alive. The message warns him to tell no one, because they are being watched.
Alex’s sister (Marina Hands) persuades her girlfriend Hélène (Kristin Scott Thomas) to hire a high-powered attorney (Nathalie Baye) to defend him. But when a friend is murdered Alex goes on the run, trying to uncover the truth about his dead wife’s reappearance – as well as prove his innocence.

Is his wife really alive? Who killed his friend? Who tried to abduct him. Who is behind this?

It’s an edge-of-your-seat Hitchcockian thriller – a classic “wrong man” plot, complete with suspense, humor, and heart-pounding chase sequences.

In addition to being thriller, this is a story of loss and redemption. And it’s the melancholy of lost love that gives this film its haunting atmosphere.

Notice that the man who follows Beck in the station is a cameo by author Harlan Coben himself. And director Guillaume Canet, also well known as an actor in France, appears as a key character called Philippe Neuville.

The film did quite well with France’s César Awards, winning four: Best Director for Guillaume Canet, Best Actor for François Cluzet, Best Editing for Hervé de Luze, and Best Music Written for a Film for Matthieu Chedid. It also was nominated in five other categories.

Truth told, I liked the movie even better than the book. [from Solares Hill]

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