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Sunday, September 6, 2009


In only his second film as director, French actor Guillaume Canet scores, weaving an innocent-man-on-the-run thriller with an ultra-twisty murder mystery detective story in a manner not seen since THE FUGITIVE/’93. It begins like this: Eight years after his wife’s violent disappearance, a still mournful husband receives an e-mail . . . from his ‘dead’ wife. Working from his own adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel, Canet’s emphasis is less on the chase than on solving the multiple mysteries, which lends a more intellectual (perhaps French?) tone to the story line, especially in the film’s second half. Multiple layers of deceit necessitate an extended confessional finale to clear everything up, but it’s a small price to pay for all the beautifully handled episodes as deftly planted characters reappear for a turn in the plot. It’s beautifully structured stuff. As the husband on the run, Fran├žois Cluzet heads a superb cast which deservedly won ensemble acing awards. But it’s Canet, who gives himself a small role, who’s the real hero here. Classic narrative cinema lives . . . at least, in France.

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