Tell Tale


Action / Drama / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller


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Downloaded 32,457 times
September 22, 2014 at 10:52 PM



Lena Headey as Elizabeth Clemson
Josh Lucas as Terry Bernard
Pablo Schreiber as Bernard Cochius
752.24 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 5 / 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by beverlyhellbillys 9 / 10

I'd watch it again!

I picked this up at Blockbuster over the weekend (because I think the lead man, Josh Lucas, is heart-stopping handsome--no pun intended!), and I was quite pleasantly surprised.

The Rhode Island setting is beautiful, the plot is definitely intriguing and the characters are dear. I really felt for this single father whose life has been turned upside-down and his morality compromised by the supernatural powers his angry heart holds.

It's true that this Edgar Allan Poe adaptation is VERY loose; it's more "inspired by" Poe's short story than anything else, but hey, the tale inspired a great film!

Reviewed by Newt Rox 7 / 10

Don't compare this TV writer's screenplay to Poe.


Single dad Terry (Josh Lucas) lives with his young daughter Angela (Beatrice Miller) who has a rare terminal disease. Terry has had a recent heart transplant, to which he seems to have adapted healthily, but he slowly becomes consumed by the tortured persona of the heart's donor through the extraordinary heart that follows no law of nature, science or physics.

The donor was a terminally ill man who'd put his name on an organ donor list and was then prematurely murdered by organ harvesters. He died watching them murder his wife too, which gives the film its impetus.

Terry trudges through the film, coping with his psychoses, blackouts, and flashbacks of the donor's murder scene. He finds out the identities of his donor and those involved in the transplant. Discovering in a news article that the donor was murdered, he then seeks the bad guys.

The film has its "Death Wish" moments as Terry is quietly egged on to avenge the still-unsolved murder by the annoying detective (Brian Cox) assigned to the original homicide. As the bad guys start to die, the detective has enough evidence to bring Terry in, but actually aids Terry because he has his own reason for seeing vengeance meted out. The film tends to the morose, as Terry inexplicably morphs into a schizoid, psychological mess, struggling through his new quest. Yet there are uplifting scenes of the star's relationships with his daughter and girlfriend.

The dialog tends to drag. The plot and characters can become fairly unbelievable. Despite decent action several times I viewed the actors as if I were on a distant treetop, wondering at the lack of a sense of thrill or horror, and at how remarkably unscary and un-engrossing this film got.

Terry carries the burden of the driven, tormented heart recipient -- barely -- yet his character's dialog is handled in a heavy-handed, insensitive manner. The acting of Lena Headey as his girlfriend Elizabeth, a caring, no-nonsense physician and lover, is enjoyable. But when Headey is forced to watch horrific surgical procedures performed on her beloved Terry she is dead-pan. She may have picked up this stoic behavior from repeatedly watching Summer Glau get blown to bits in last TV season's "Terminator - Sarah Connors Chronicles," canceled after one season. The attractive Headey started acting as an adult 20 years ago, has worked mostly in television, and as far as I can tell has had a less-than-earth-shattering career, despite the proclivity of directors to cast her in tight jeans.

For the vengeance to have been more credible and make more sense there should have been a stronger, more interesting, contemporaneous tie-in to the harvester ringleaders, including the surgeon. Perhaps this part could have been turned out to be Terry's cold-blooded cardiologist. Or even Elizabeth.

Ironically in the end it's revealed that the heart was ordered up by Elizabeth, who was treating Terry's daughter and became attached to her -- Elizabeth didn't want Terry to exit this planet quite so soon. She'd asked dodgy co-workers at the hospital to get her a heart, "no-questions-asked," which Terry is not too happy to hear.

This ending and the final surgery was a stretch but I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the film's rudimentary ethics question of whether murder can be condoned if it benefits the perpetuity of family. Terry seems by then to have completely adopted the victim's loss and sense of right and wrong, and it trumps his love for Elizabeth and his desire to have his daughter taken care of. Another view might be that his HEART was letting its love for its donor's wife trump everything.

The rental didn't have captioning, which made Headey hard to understand, since she spoke quickly and with an English accent. This is true of some of the other dialog.

Filmed in gorgeous Providence, Rhode Island.

I wouldn't compare this to Poe though I admit that -- for a sadistic heart thief -- death by defibrillator is a poetic one.

Reviewed by MBunge 4 / 10

I would rather this film had straight up sucked

There's something uniquely frustrating about this film. Bad movies are a certain kind of disappointment. Good movies that go bad are another. Tell Tale aims at and successfully achieves a complacent mediocrity and then just as it suggests it might become something better, it goes right in the toilet. Being lulled into a resigned acceptance, only to have your hopes raised and then instantly dashed is an aggravating emotional whiplash. I usually wish that movies had been better. I would have preferred this one to be worse, sparing me those few bitter moments of futile hope.

Based loosely, and I mean very loosely, on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", this motion picture is about Terry Bernard (Josh Lucas). He's a recent heart transplant recipient trying to get his life back in order. He's got a young daughter named Angela (Beatrice Miller) with a terminal genetic disorder and Angela has a beautiful doctor named Liz (Lena Headey) who's also pretty fond of Terry. I'd like to tell you more about these characters but they don't have any distinct personalities. If you smushed all their defining character traits together you still wouldn't have anything resembling a three dimensional human being.

Terry starts having these episodes where he hears his heart thundering in his ears and sees strange images of people milling about in a dark room. These episodes eventually lead to Terry killing people and with the help of a jaded detective (Brian Cox), he learns that his victims are the people who killed the person whose heart now beats in Terry's chest. And that demanding, magical organ isn't gong to let Terry stop killing.

Now, let me give you an example of what I mean by Tell Tale being mediocre. A pretty big deal is made of Angela's genetic disorder, to the point where there's an entire scene built around it. Terry having a sick daughter, though, let alone one with a very rare and heart-breaking condition, never goes anywhere or amounts to anything. It doesn't play any role in the plot. It's not connected to anything else in the story. Angela's disease doesn't mirror Terry's condition or link up with it thematically somehow. You could make Angela healthy and Liz her math tutor without changing anything significant in this film. And that's what I mean by mediocre. Tell Tale isn't bad, there's simply no depth or complexity or sophistication to any of it.

Which is okay. A mediocre movie is better than a bad one, but then this flick has to go and suddenly get smart. It begins to suggest that the heart isn't only using Terry for vengeance. The heart may be changing Terry into its original owner, setting up a second and more intriguing conflict. The heart isn't only taking revengeĀ…it's also taking Terry's identity. But as that concept starts to emerge from the mire, the film abruptly turns stupid and falls into an overly melodramatic ending that only works because Tell Tale violates its central premise. All of the supernatural powers the heart has demonstrated throughout the story are pounded away by the Almighty Plot Hammer and Terry is left a helpless victim before his enemies because writer David Callaham apparently couldn't figure out a way to write a climax that didn't involve one cliche after another.

All of the actors here do good work, with Josh Lucas exceeding the barren script to create believable relationships for Terry with both Angela and Liz. Lena Headey admirably soldiers through a typically thankless girlfriend role and looks amazing. Brian Cox is possibly the best thing in the production as a cynical, defeated cop given new hope by the unbelievable until he's betrayed by a crushingly trite motivation. And director Michael Cuesta does a perfectly acceptable job.

It's dispiriting turn at the end leaves Tell Tale a sub-mediocre 90 minute movie that could have been a worthwhile 2 hour flick if it had followed through on its potential. It didn't, so it's not worth your while

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