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Film / Tell No One

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"Tell no one. They're watching."

Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne in French) is a 2006 French thriller film written and directed by Guillaume Canet. It is based off a novel by Harlan Coben. Canet also has a role in it.

Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet), a pediatrician, and his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze), are Happily Married, until one night, when, while at the place where they had their First Kiss, they're attacked, and Margot is brutally murdered. Eight years later, Alexandre still hasn't been able to get over his wife's death. Then one day, two bodies are found near the place where Margot was murdered, and Alexandre becomes a suspect. Then he receives a mysterious e-mail that seems to suggest Margot is still alive, while in the meantime, Alex's sister Anne (Marina Hands) persuades her well-off wife Hélène (Kristin Scott Thomas) to both help Alex in his case together...

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Duo: Alexandre, a pediatrician, and Bruno, a gangster, become this when Bruno is the only one Alexandre can turn to for help.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Bruno breaks up the fight Alexandre was involved in (see Gilligan Cut below), he asks Alexandre what happened, and Alexandre admits he was bluffing him. Bruno calls him a headcase, but can't help chuckling.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The novel's setting was changed for the movie from New York City to Paris, the characters were changed somewhat (in the novel, Helene was called Shauna and was a super-model) - including a Race Lift (Tyrese, the character Bruno is based on, is African-American, while Bruno is white), and a couple of plot twists are dropped, but mostly, it's the same plot.
  • Amoral Attorney: Averted with Elysabeth; while she represents Alex, she backs out when he runs away from the police (on the theory he must be guilty if he's running), and only comes back to the case when new evidence comes to life, which she immediately shares with the police (of course, she also gloats over her victory, but still).
  • Asshole Victim: Phillipe Neuville - he was a pedophile, had Almlexandre's father murdered, and he also beat Margot up twice, once when she found out he was a pedophile, and then right before she killed him.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Bruno explains to his dragon the reason why he's willing to help Alexandre no matter what; when he brought his son to the hospital the first time, everyone there assumed he had abused his son, and only Alexandre believed his son was a hemophiliac.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Big time.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted; neither Anne nor Helene die, or are under any threat.
  • But Not Too Gay: Played with: Anne and Helene don't get as affectionate as Alexandre and Margot were, but they act like a married couple in other ways (Helene even refers to Anne as "my wife"), even fighting like one when Anne reveals she knew about Margot getting beat up by Philippe Neuville.
  • Chekhov's Dog: Nina, who helps prove Alex didn't kill Charlotte, since Nina accompanied him to the internet cafe where Alex read Margot's e-mail.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bruno.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: During the Happy Flashback, we see Alexandre and Margot started out this way.
  • Clear My Name: Alexandre is accused of killing Margot's friend Charlotte, the two men found early on in the movie, and even Margot, which makes his quest to find Margot all the more difficult.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Margot is about to go on a plane and leave, never to come back, when she sees a news flash at the airport about Charlotte's murder, and Alexandre being a suspect in that murder. Because of this, she decides not to board the plane, and to go back to Alexandre instead. By doing this, she's able to escape the police.
  • Creator Cameo: Harlan Coben, who wrote the novel the film is based on, plays a man briefly following Alexandre at the train station.
    • Also, director/co-writer Guillaume Canet plays Phillipe, Gilbert's murdered son.
  • Determinator: Alexandre, big time.
    • Captain Levkowitch is a milder version of this trope.
  • Dirty Cop: Jacques has been working for Gilbert Neuville and helped cover up Phillippe's crimes by having murdering Alexandre's father. He also faked Margot's death when she killed Phillippe, as he knew Gilbert would never let up in trying to avenge it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how!
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Alexandre is out walking Nina, he hears U2's "With or Without You", and immediately remembers the concert he and Margot went to at the Olympia. This leads him to go to an internet café, where he figures out how to open up and read her latest e-mail message.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Bruno constantly worries over his son, and will do anything for him. Gilbert loved Phillippe the same way.
  • Flashback: When Alexandre decides to drown his sorrows, he has a combination of a Happy Flashback and a Troubled Backstory Flashback, as he remembers his wedding, his First Kiss with Margot when they were kids, and her funeral.
  • Gay Best Friend: Helene is like this for Alexandre, though it's also because she's married to his sister Anne. In addition, it's not played for laughs or cheap thrills at all; she's never in any danger, she's the one who pays for Alexandre's attorney when he's falsely accused of murder, and she's the one he confides in when he first thinks Margot might still be alive.
  • Gilligan Cut: Within the same scene - when Alexandre is meeting with a man Margot gave an alibi for involving the murder of Philippe Neuville (when Margo was the one who killed him), Bruno assures his dragon nothing's going to happen and Alexandre is just talking. Just then, Alexandre hits the other man, and the two of them get into a fight, which Bruno has to break up.
  • I Believe That You Believe It: Helene acts this way when Alexandre tells her about the e-mail from first. Later, she comes to believe him.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Jacques
  • Indignant Slap: Anne gives one to Helene after Helen accuses her of not telling anyone Margot had been beat up by Phillipe Neuville because of her working relationship with Gilbert.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bruno. He's a gangster, he's rude to his associates and to people in general, and he's violent. However, he's devoted to his son, and because Alexandre has helped his son, he's willing to do whatever it takes to help Alexandre.
  • Made of Iron: After receiving two serious torso wounds, the Torture Technician of the hit team walks about fifty yards without flinching before she finally collapses.
  • Male Gaze: Inverted; we see a shot of a waitress' rear end as she's walking away, but then it's revealed it was Helene looking at her.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The discovery of the two bodies near where Margot was murdered eventually leads to The Reveal that Margot murdered Philippe Neuville after he beat her up, Jacques helped to cover it up, and was complicit with Gilbert Neuville in doing so.
  • My Card: Bruno gives Alexandre his card so Alexandre can call him for any news on his son. When Alexandre has to go on the run, he uses the card to call Bruno to get him out of a jam.
  • Odd Couple: Alexandre and Bruno again; the only thing that binds them together is Alexandre not only treats Bruno's son, a hemophiliac, but also intervened on Bruno's behalf with the police, who believed Bruno was abusing his son.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: The two homicide detectives are Lieutenant Meynard, a brash, fit, and politically-conscious young man and Captain Lekowitch, a soft-spoken, surprisingly calculating older man who seems to have OCD.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, as there's two characters named Phillipe.
  • Papa Wolf: Bruno and Gilbert. Also, Jacques
  • Plot Twist: Quite a few of them.
  • Product Placement: Mac laptops and Yahoo Mail, though both are connected to the plot.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Alexandre's father, a former riding champion, taught Philippe, who later hired him for his pet project: a riding centre for children of poor families. Then he found out Philippe is a pedophile and he created the centre so he would never lack children and young teenagers to rape...
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jacques
  • Rejected Apology: Anne tearfully apologizes to Alexandre for not telling him she knew about Margot getting beat up by Phillipe Neuville, but all he does is listen in silence and tell her, "Thanks for telling me," before walking away from her.
  • The Reveal: Margot was the one who killed Philippe Neuville, and Jacques helped cover it up. Also, Philippe molested kids, and Jacques had helped cover that up, including Gilbert having Alexandre's father killed. Oh, and Margot is still alive, and only left the country because Jacques told her Alexandre had been killed.
  • Stopped Dead in Their Tracks: Detective Levkowitch, who's been pursuing Alexandre for murder, approaches Helene, Alexandre's Gay Best Friend. She blows him off until he tells her he doesn't think Eric is guilty, at which point she stops.
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Early in the film, Alexandre and Margot return to the tree where they had their First Kiss, and where they marked the occasion, which they do every year on that anniversary. At the very end of the movie, they reunite at that spot.
  • Walking Spoiler: Margot, who isn't dead.
  • We Need a Distraction: Bruno has one of his men fire three shots into the ground and then wait to surrender himself to divert the cops who are closing in on where Alex is hiding.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Helene to Anne after she finds out Anne knew about Margot getting beat up by Phillipe Neuville but didn't tell anyone because she promised Margot.