Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
After a heart transplant, a man finds that he has memories of something he never lived through. Soon, he gets a little too close to a deadly and dark secret that could cost him his life thanks to his tell tale heart.
Is it good movie?
It doesnít take much to realize that Tell-Tale was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and his classic story The Tell Tale Heart. But our hero, Terry Bernard (Josh Lucas) is not a murderer necessarily. After receiving a heart transplant, he begins to have very strong feelings and memories that are simply not his. They are dark and disturbing visions, ones which only complicate matters worse since he also has a daughter with a very rare disease. In fact, this movie is simply a downer. Yet the father and daughter (Beatrice Miller) bond is very sweet, especially with the nature of her disease. Add to that mix, the girlís doctor, Elizabeth Clemson (Lena Headey) and you have yourself a surprisingly humane thriller.
As a man facing very serious issues, Josh Lucas gives a solid performance. He is a terrific actor that gives Bernard depth and, yes, heart. And as incredibly convoluted as the story gets, he helps keep it grounded. The film goes from family drama, medical horror, and supernatural link to the dead. All with a twist ending that makes for semi-likable flick. And it is truly the actors who make it work as well as it does. Lena Headey is also quite good, she reminded me of Jenny Agutter in An American Werewolf in London with her caring nature and her lovely accent.
The film also stars Brian Cox as a mystery man who seems to understand Bernardís situation. And of course he is terrific. Mr. Cox has given some incredibly strong performances as of late including The Good Heart (Ironically he had a similar heart issue in a very different type of film). I canít necessarily describe what he does and how he fits in this puzzle, but itís always good to see this pro. Director Michael Cuesta fills Tell-Tale with a cast that certainly elevates it above your typical straight to DVD horror thriller.
While I was certainly impressed with the casting, and I even liked the story, there was something slightly off. As attached as I was to the performances, it began to feel slightly monotonous. Bernardís own personal nightmare and his beating heart didnít quite build the chills that it could have. It wasnít until the final half, particularly a scene at a museum where it really started to move for me. This scene clicked and connected me to the story. I wouldnít say the beginning was terrible, or even bad, I just didnít feel much for the victims. How and why they were victims was interesting, but it never really moved me what and why they were doing to whom. It just simply felt off.
Video / Audio
Video: This widescreen transfer is suitable for this feature.
Audio: Also suitable is the Dolby 5.1
Not a single one. Not even a frigginí trailer.
Tell-Tale is a well acted thriller that doesnít always deliver thrills. But once the emotional context truly sinks in, so did my investment in the characters. I loved the relationship between a father, his daughter and her doctor. It is very striking and makes up for some of the monotony in the first half. This is worth checking out, but just be prepared for a slow ride early on.