Saturday June 23, 2007

Ne le dis à personne (French, Guillaume Canet)

Posted by Karthik

The only reason why I even ended up watching Ne le dis à personne (Tell no one) is that the plot reminded me of one of my favorite European films, the Dutch ‘Spoorloos’ (remade as the godawful ‘The Vanishing’ by Hollywood’s dumb money-machines). The source book by Harlan Coben makes fantastic fodder for a taut, racy thriller and it’s a complete surprise that the French overtook Hollywood moghuls in taking it to its movie version – thank heavens for that!

French actor Guillaume Canet, who I last remember playing the lead in that sparkling, very-European ‘Jeux d’enfants’, gets behind the camera and directs this one with total mastery over the proceedings and that noticeable urgency in camera movement, replete with uniquely-French trappings like that lesbian couple with no explicit scenes, a lean-mean, emotionless hit-woman and minor blink-miss roles by American actors, led by Kristin Scott Thomas as one of the lesbian partners.

The plot is as exciting as any other Coben material – Paediatrician Alexander Beck’s wife Margot is brutally murdered and the doc is left mourning, when he, after 8 long years, gets a live video feed in an anonymous email, in which Margot looks at him longingly, in real time and just walks along! Lead man François Cluzet is mostly wimpish even as he goes on the run with the help of his thug friend Bruno. The narrative is appropriately twisted even though the plot lays itself out rather straight with some uncomfortably convenient plot devices and that minor deviation from Coben’s original culmination, that somehow seems better in a movie version.

At the end, I personally thought that this could make a fantastic Bollywood or even a Tamil movie. Considering how amazingly Gautam Menon massacred Derailed for Pachaikili Muthucharam (the less said about the Hindi adaptation, The Train, the better!), he could redeem himself even if he just lifts scenes from Ne le dis à personne for a Tamil version. The emotional core of this film is pretty much on par with the kind of eternal love our Indian protagonists profess day in and day out. Isn’t that reason enough for an Indian remake?

Keywords: European cinema, French films, Thriller, Best seller

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