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Tell Tale (2009)

Josh Lucas , Lena Headey , Michael Cuesta  |  R |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Josh Lucas, Lena Headey, Brian Cox
  • Directors: Michael Cuesta
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2010
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00368PSLY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,115 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tell Tale" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

A chilling re-imagining of Edgar Allen Poe s timeless story The Tell Tale Heart. Hardworking single dad Terry (Josh Lucas) has a new lease on life, he has recovered from a recent heart transplant and met a beautiful woman. But things go awry as he becomes haunted by his own heartbeat and realizes that he must delve into the shocking death of the donor who saved his life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Popcorn Flick - But Unrelated to Poe February 13, 2010
By Compay
Format:DVD
Let me first make something clear: "Tell Tale" actually has nothing to do with "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. In Poe's short story, a murderer is haunted by the sounds of his victim's beating heart. In the film, the recipient of a heart transplant shares a supernatural connection with his deceased donor, and seeks to unravel the mystery of his murder. The film only emphasizes the heartbeat when single father Terry sees someone that the victim did.

The film is directed by Michael Cuesta, who previously directed episodes of Dexter and Six Feet Under. It's produced by Tony and Ridley Scott, and even though they aren't listed as directors, I found it interesting that the film borrows direction techniques from Man on Fire (A Tony Scott film).

I've enjoyed work by Josh Lucas in the past (Glory Road, Sweet Home Alabama), but he simply doesn't stand out in this role. On the other hand, Brian Cox (Bourne Identity, Braveheart) absolutely steals the show as Van Doren, the detective following every move Josh's character makes. Michael K. Williams (Omar Little from The Wire) seemed a promising inclusion in the film, but has virtually no screen time.

The downside to the film is that it's not incredibly original. Return to Me was a 2000 movie that deals with the bond between a heart transplant recipient, and the man who loved the deceased donor. 1995's Jeff Goldblum film Hideaway also explored supernatural connections between accident victims. Beyond the concept issues, the twist that occurs during the film serves only to point out a major plothole (the most I can say without spoiling it).

This movie is worth renting, though I wouldn't consider buying it until after you've watched it once. Light on originality, but with some solid acting by Brian Cox, this makes for a decent weekend rental.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice surprise. January 19, 2011
Format:DVD
Tell Tale (Michael Cuesta, 2009)

This is another of those pleasant-surprise films that simply disappeared into the ether. It showed at Tribeca, failed to find an American distributor, and went straight to DVD a year later. On the other hand, successful festival runs in other parts of the world led to theatrical releases in France, Singapore, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Australia... and the list goes on. Why is it that other countries are so able to recognize the worth of smaller American films, while those of us who like to see things on the big screen are so often spoon-fed the lowest common denominator? (I already think I know the answer to that question, but I'm hoping if I keep asking it, the studios who refuse to take chances on intelligent, low-budget movies like this will get the hint.)

This is, in fact, an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", but it's not one you're likely to recognize. Scriptwriter Dave Callaham (The Expendables) turned the story on its head; in this case, we have a heart transplant patient who has also gained some of the memories of the donor, who was murdered. Terry (Poseidon's Josh Lucas), said patient, becomes obsessed with solving the donor's murder. Problem is, he's becoming somewhat divorced from his own reality, which places a strain on his relationship with Elizabeth (300's Lena Headey, currently filming the Game of Thrones adaptation for HBO), his daughter Angela (Toy Story 3's Beatrice Miller)'s doctor. It's not enough Terry's got a bad ticker, his kid has a nasty, and incredibly rare, genetic defect. Not a lucky family by any means, right? So maybe it's not all that bad a thing when Terry starts gaining not only the donor's memories, but also his personality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing plot, actors mumble June 19, 2010
Format:DVD
There was something satisfying about the way the main character kept offing those who had killed his heart donor. But most of the time it was difficult to figure the story, and we were painfully aware that all the actors (but most particularly the female doctor who was the love interest), kept swallowing their words so that none of us could hear what was said. Regarding the confusing plot, one of the people with whom I was watching is a cardiologist - well, all of us are certified to be quite intelligent and experienced watchers of art flicks.... I think by the end we understood where the story was headed but were definitely underwhelmed.

BTW, this Blu-ray DVD apparently lacks subtitles. We looked for those, as they might have helped us understand the mumbled lines.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An odd movie, but I liked it. November 25, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film has some interesting twists to it, and Josh Lucas's character is both a hero and an anti-hero. I thought he did a good job with the role. I missed that emotional depth that he can portray so well, but this picture didn't call for that. Still, I saw a side of his acting range I hadn't seen before, and he did as well with the character as anyone else could have. I adored the little girl who played his daughter, and it was great to see a story featuring a relationship between the male and female lead that lasted longer than about two minutes of an entire movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful Murder Mystery July 26, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am prejudiced about this movie because I am a big fan of Josh Lucas. Lucas plays a great father (loving, attentive) even though at least once he neglects his daughter while he is obsessed with finding the killers of the man whose heart he gets as a transplant.
As usual Brian Cox gives a solid performance.
It has been too many years since I read Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart so I am not qualified to compare that story with this movie.
Regardless, this movie stands on its own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Grisly Thriller with only a Passing Acquaintance with Poe
Viewers expecting this film to be an adaptation of Poe's immortal "Tell-Tale Heart" might well be disappointed. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
1.0 out of 5 stars Tell tale
Product was damaged. I had to purchase it again. I was about to show it to the class, and when I opened it, it was cracked. I was stuck and had to scramble. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Zora/ Sheila kosoff
3.0 out of 5 stars Tell Tale
Good spin off of Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell Tale Heart", a semi-original movie that is not like many others. Read more
Published on February 9, 2012 by Orlando355
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad film, bad blu-ray ...
This movie is bad, and the blu-ray video quality sometimes is bad too. It looks like an excellent DVD in a few scenes and a so so DVD in most parts of it. Read more
Published on December 20, 2010 by Gilberto Dotti Cesa
5.0 out of 5 stars Considering the other Reviews this movie was very good
Well I read all the customer reviews and wasn't sure what to expect but Tell Tale was a pleasent surprise. The movie is very good. Read more
Published on August 20, 2010 by Marc A. Primavera
3.0 out of 5 stars good solid thriller
I enjoyed this movie; it kept me on the edge of my seat and the twist at the end was neat.
Published on August 17, 2010 by Tundy
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a slow moment - excellent flick!
I knew that Tell Tale wouldn't be a remake of the Poe classic, but I certainly wasn't disappointed in this film. I thought I had the ending figured out, but was fooled! Read more
Published on April 19, 2010 by Dee J.
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