Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Secret In Their Eyes (2009) - Review

Directed by - Juan Jose Campanella

Written by - Eduardo Sacheri
Juan Jose Campanella

Based on the novel - 'La Pregunta De Sus Ojos' by Eduardo Sacheri

The film is split between the present and 1974 and starts with the reuniting of Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin) and Irene Menendez Hastings (Soledad Villamil). Benjamin is a handsome, bearded, retired police officer who, since 1974, has been married and divorced and is now writing a novel about a case he worked that he is still trying to exorcise. Irene is a beautiful lawyer who was once Benjamin's superior whom he is visiting to show her an early draft of his novel. 

I was really impressed by the way the jigsaw-like story was assembled; weaving to-and-fro between the past and the present, piecing together a complex narrative of events set over 25 years. The crime being investigated is the rape and murder of a young woman, but running parallel to this is the engrossing story of Benjamin's infatuation with his superior Irene. 

The Secret In Their Eyes won 'Best Foreign Film' at last years Academy Awards; beating the hotly tipped Michael Haneke film 'The White Ribbon' and also Jacques Audiard's 'A Prophet'. The Secret In Their Eyes oozes distinction with intricate layers of subtlety and depth rarely found in modern cinema. Its slower tempo harking back to an age of slower paced thrillers of the sixties and seventies. Although its roots are firmly grounded in the past, it feels fresh, new and exciting. There is an incredible scene where the camera swoops over and into a packed football stadium which then follows the action as a player strikes the crossbar. The camera continues downwards and descends into the crowd in one smooth movement. The shot continues for several minutes as a chase brakes out and we are taken further inside the ground. 

Although I don't want to give the ending away, I am pleased to say that there is no twist involved. We are teased with the prospect of a twist but thankfully it doesn't come; this helps reinforce the harshness and the reality of the actual ending which ties it all together nicely.

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