Tell No One

In theaters.

Conveying paranoia is one of the things movies do best—and not just showing it but making you feel it along with the characters. Looming images, wary pans, jumpy camerawork, and carefully doled information can create a delicious sense of anxiety, the perverse thrill of jangly nerves and bated breath.

The French thriller Tell No One achieves those tense heights of paranoia beautifully (a few sequences have real Hitchcockian flair, not quite Cary-Grant-in-the-corn-field but admirably close), but if falls short of what might be the more difficult trick: the dismount. As long as the threat against protagonist Alex Beck is left vague and shadowy, Tell No One works the classic man-unjustly-accused theme to great effect. Undefined, the threat feels overwhelming, but once the movie starts spelling everything out in long explanatory flashbacks, it begins to feel small and sordid, a letdown.