8 YEARS AGO, ALEX’S WIFE WAS MURDERED. TODAY… SHE E-MAILED HIM.
Eight years after the murder of his wife, Alexandre Beck (François Cluzet) receives a mysterious e-mail and finds himself the subject of a police investigation. Guillaume Canet skillfully delivers a tense, visually attractive and well-acted thriller that looks distinctly American. The set-up is familiar from countless predecessors and the story with all its twists and turns may not hold up all the way to the end, but it matters little. One does care about the Hitchcockian protagonist (great performance by Dustin Hoffman-lookalike Cluzet), his grief and the problems facing him. The filmmakers add a nice romantic touch and there’s also an impressive edge-of-your-seat scene on a highway.
2007-France. 130 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Alain Attal. Directed by Guillaume Canet. Screenplay: Guillaume Canet, Philippe Lefebvre. Novel: Harlan Coben. Cinematography: Christophe Offenstein. Cast: François Cluzet (Alexandre Beck), Marie-Josée Croze (Margot Beck), André Dussollier (Jacques Laurentin), Kristin Scott Thomas, François Berléand, Nathalie Baye.
Trivia: Original title: Ne le dis à personne. Co-executive produced by Luc Besson.
Last word: “I was writing my second script [‘Mon Idole’ was the first] when someone in the production office where I was working thought I should read Coben’s book. As I read, I could picture the film in my mind’s eye. What I liked was the love story as the engine of the thriller — which goes against the usual thriller. And the characters were very powerful and deep. Then in 2005 I heard the movie was going to be made in the States. I ran into Michael Apted in L.A. and said, You’re going to do a movie about a book that I love. He said, I won’t be doing it after all. I pretended to go to the bathroom and called my producer and told him: We have to go after the rights.” (Canet, Indiewire)