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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.
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.Read more ›
We never find out how the heart donor is possessing the man. Is it the donor's ghost? Or is it cellular memory? (An as-yet-unproven paranormal theory that every cell in the human body retains memory, not just the brain.) The film doesn't even try to explore the cause, though it would have made for an interesting angle.
So the man goes about killing his heart donor's murderers. The murders are not too gory. They mostly occur unseen. A man is stabbed, we see him grimace, but don't actually see the knife penetrate. Another man is pushed ahead of an oncoming train. We don't actually see him torn and splattered. That might disappoint gorehounds, but I found the events interesting enough, the characters and their reactions fully-fleshed enough, not to be bothered by the lack of gore. (Well, there are scenes from the heart transplant surgery, which some might find pretty unsettling.)
An interesting subplot is this man's daughter, who has a rare genetic disorder. It causes the bones to fuse together. I found that more horrifying than the other events in this story.
Lena Headey plays the love interest.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't know what to expect watching this film for the first time. Here's what to expect: 1) Characters you wish the producers had spent more time developing, but were sacrificed... Read morePublished 13 months ago by S.A.W.
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... Read morePublished on July 26, 2013 by Trevor Henderson
Viewers expecting this film to be an adaptation of Poe's immortal "Tell-Tale Heart" might well be disappointed. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by Dr. Laurence Raw
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 morePublished on October 19, 2012 by Zora/ Sheila kosoff
Good spin off of Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell Tale Heart", a semi-original movie that is not like many others. Read morePublished on February 9, 2012 by Orlando355
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 morePublished on December 20, 2010 by Gilberto Dotti Cesa
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 morePublished on August 20, 2010 by Marc A. Primavera
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
There was something satisfying about the way the main character kept offing those who had killed his heart donor. Read morePublished on June 19, 2010 by nonpareil