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Michael Cuesta's Tell-Tale


I watched Michael Cuesta's Tell-Tale (2009) on Netflix.  A recent heart transplant recipient finds his new heart beating like crazy every time he's near the killers of the heart's donor.  The heart beats with vengeance. 

What's fascinating is how it adapts the Poe story, "Tell-Tale Heart," essentially taking the narrative at his word.  I always read the story as a madman's confession who halucinates the beating heart out of his own guilt.  Pretty obvious reading, I know.  But what if the murderer really did hear the heart.  What if the heart does give him away.  I like how that's a valid reading of the short story. Poe's "The Black Cat" offers the same dual reading: the narrator could be deranged and just unlucky when the cat is entombed in the wall at the end OR the black cat is really a spirit from beyond throughout the entire story, finally attaining its ruthless vengeance in the end.  So I enjoyed the way Cuesta takes this reading of the story and stretches it as far as it goes.  

Cuesta is a fine director who has helmed episodes of HBO TV shows (Dexter, Six Feet Under and the season 2 finale of True Blood).  He has crafted a good film in Tell-Tale with lots of suspense .  The movie's worth watching.  You can watch Cuesta, along with the lead actor Josh Lucas, talk about the film at Shock Till You Drop

Cuesta also directed the pilot for the proposed zombie TV show, Babylon Fields, about zombies trying to return to their former lives.  That show was never picked up by a network, but you can watch it here.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for the positive review! I played Josh Lucas' cardiologist in "Tell Tale" and thought the finished movie came out rather well. I especially liked the way the one line from the Poe original was used to creepy effect! And yes, Cuesta is really very good indeed.
June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Winters

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