Tenacious D in 'The Pick of Destiny'
In 1999, musical actors Kyle Gass ("Elf") and Jack Black ("Nacho Libre") had an HBO television which chronicled their self-proclaimed 'greatest band in the world,' a put on rock/heavy metal duo that even toured. Now that band has its first feature film, "Tenacious D in 'The Pick of Destiny'."
Laura's Review: C+
Sophomore director Guillaume Canet ("My Idol"), who stars in Claude Berri's "Hunting and Gathering" and is the bad guy here, has adapted American novelist Harlan Coben's book into a Hitchcockian innocent man maze of twisty turns with a myriad of characters. Unfortunately, one's attention is so completely focused on not losing one's place amidst all the secrets and who're who's that it is difficult to care much about the love story at the film's center. The film is overpacked. Alex does confide in someone - his sister Anne's (Marina Hands, "The Barbarian Invasions," "Lady Chatterley") wife Hélène (Kristin Scott Thomas, "The English Patient," "The Valet"), who's concerned about her brother-in-law's inability to get over the loss of his wife. He also finds a friend in Bruno (Gilles Lellouche, "Love Is in the Air," "Family Hero"), a local street tough whose son he saved years earlier. Police captain Eric Levkowitch (François Berléand, "A Comedy of Power," "Transporter II") still has questions about the original case - who placed the anonymous 911 call? how did a knocked out Alex get onto shore the night of the murder? - but tends towards Beck's innocence, even if his lieutenant is less convinced. When Alex tries to meet Margot in a park, she sees a trap - Bernard (Olivier Marchal, "36 Quai des Orfèvres") communicates with walkie talkie to a group encircling the bench where Alex awaits - but Alex spies her leaving even as they do not. He's chased down, but Bruno comes to the rescue. Shortly thereafter, though, Margot's best friend Charlotte (Florence Thomassin, "A Matter of Taste," "57,000 Kilometers Between Us") is murdered in her photographer's studio and Alex finds himself a wanted suspect once again. Are there ties with Margot's disappearance and the murder of wealthy senator Gilbert Neuville's (Jean Rochefort, "The Man on the Train," "Mr. Bean's Vacation") adult son Philippe (Canet) around the same time? Why did Margot suggest she'd had an affair with the chief suspect in that case? What about Margot's autopsy report with missing photos that suggests another body altogether and has only been seen by the victim's own father, former police inspector Jacques Laurentin (André Dussollier, "Lemming," "Private Fears in Public Places")? The story does come neatly together with all pieces in place, but the film is so crowded with characters that veteran French actress Nathalie Baye ("Catch Me if You Can," "Le Petit Lieutenant") seems superfluous as Alex's attorney. People's place in the plot is often unknown (who is Bernard, for example?) so that one is keeping track of two realms of characters, those whose relationships we know and those we do not. Technically, the film is top notch and includes one of the most exciting and extensive foot chases put to screen. The director's use of pop songs, however, is too literal and heavy handed. Canet's put together a good policier told from the suspect/victim's perspective but Canet does not engage his audience enough emotionally. A framing device shows us Margot and Alex as children, carving initials in a tree and kissing. It's cute, but the gradual reveal of their connections to one man through their parents makes the subterfuge seem a bit overblown. It's telling that the film's most rewarding character relationship is Alex's with Bruno, which gives the film some much needed humor. "Tell No One" is technically proficient and will be sure to delight mystery fans, but despite Cluzet's centering performance, the film moves too fast to engage with the lives at stake.
Robin's Review: DNS