The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

The Secret in Their Eyes
Release: 27/05/2010
Length: 126 Mins
Rating: MA15+
Genre: Drama/Thriller
Director:
Juan José Campanella
Distributor:
Rialto Distribution  
Cast:
Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil
Reviewer: Felix Staica

Review Date: 26/04/2010


8/10

 


The Secret in Their Eyes
(El Secreto de Sus Ojos)

This Argentinean film won the most-recent best foreign picture Oscar Award. Co-writer/director Juan José Campanella (who did a string of directing stints on US shows including 30 Rock and Law & Order: SVU) sings a hymn to the country of his birth which spans the twilight of military rule in the mid 1970s to the present day. Through it all, dogged criminal investigator Benjamín Esposito (Ricardo Darin) and his bathetic sidekick Sandoval (Guillermo Francella) (comparisons to Cervantes’ duo are inevitable) are ensconced in the overwhelming yet sterile marble pillars of the crooked justice system.

Retirement doesn’t suit Esposito all that well and so he takes to writing, choosing to focus on an infamous murder case which did not come to a clear conclusion. To do the job properly, he must engage former legal superior Irene (Soledad Villamil), who belongs to the aristocracy and studied law in the US, at Cornell. She is intelligent, spicy and earthy: the kind of Latin substance we would expect. The final player is Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), whose school-teacher wife was the subject of a rape and killing. Mention must also go to how convincingly they are made to span the decades!

El Secreto is so many things in one, I almost swoon at recounting them. I also get the gnawing feeling that describing them will only serve as spoilage. It is a story about story-telling; that kind of thing which can be terrific for people who appreciate it but a compete turn-off for those who do not. It is also a love-story: a long, winding exploration of the varieties and enduring finality of a force that binds people. To stop the whole movie from grinding to a halt, there is also well-shot suspense and well-written humour.

Based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri (who co-wrote the screenplay), Campanella’s película is also very particular to Argentina and its Latin American flavour of dictatorship and soccer (fútbol)—in fact, the stadium sequence is pure exhilaration and technical mastery, serving only to underline the filmmakers’ versatility. Explicit swipes at the imbalance of power and fairness are made and woven into the universal question of what is just: the law or revenge?

I wonder had the film not won the Academy Award, would we have even heard about it in Australia? But such speculation is useless. The point is we have it and I would recommend it to everyone with an attention span and interest adequate for subtitles. A fair warning also about a scene in which someone proves his masculinity quite directly!






 
 



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