Movie Review: The Secret In Their Eyes (2010)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Drama
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Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin) was an employee in the Argentinian court system, he recently retired.  For 25 years,  he obsessed over one case.  The rape and murder of Liliana Coloto (Carla Quevedo) Now Benjamin wants to write a novel about the case and visits his former secretary, who is now a judge, Irene Melendez Hastings (Soledad Villamill) to ask her if the novel is a good idea.  Twenty-five years before, Benjamin scrupulously researched the case with his assistant and friend Pablo Sandoval (Guilllermo Francella) and tracked the murderer, Isodoro Gomez (Javier Godino)  to a soccer stadium where the police arrest him.  After a good cop bad cop interrogation by Benjamin and Irene, Gomez confesses.  To Benjamin’s shock and surprise, Gomez is let go and given a job with the Argentinean government as an informant, by a rival of Benjamin’s named Sicora (Fernando Pardo) What makes this case personal for Benjamin, is that Pablo is killed during this investigation, the killers were looking for Benjamin.  While everyone else is urging Benjamin to forget about the case including the dead girl’s husband, Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), Benjamin presses on to try to find Gomez.  Does he succeed?

This is an outstanding movie, I completely understand why it won an Oscar for best foreign film.  It is a very simple story, exquisitely told, with interesting characters and a brisk pace.  It is more than just a crime drama, it is a story about love, a pure love rarely seen or portrayed in film.  It is about love lost, and the fight to keep love alive.  It is a film about purpose, obsession.  There’s a line in the movie that says, “A man can change everything about himself, but never his obsession.”

The acting is first rate, these are all flawed characters, Benjamin is not driven enough, he’s still in the same court clerk position he was in when he first started, but the viewer wants him to succeed, because many people can relate to being stuck in a dead end job for a long time.  Bravo to Ricardo Darin for giving this character many facets. Irene is just the opposite, driven to a fault, she has her career, marriage, and life all planned out.  Phenomenal job by Soledad Villamill, for giving Irene an ice princess edge, but also making her accessible, that’s a very hard line to walk.  Guillermo Francella gives an unforgettably funny performance as Sandoval, Benjamin’s drunken sidekick.  The banter between the two was completely natural and side-splittingly funny.  Just two friends who’ve know each other for too long, and needle each other constantly. The direction is also superb, there are two scenes that are absolutely electrifying, one on and elevator, and one at a soccer stadium.  Wow, very well done! Not for the kiddies, nudity and graphic violence.

The Secret In Their Eyes.  The Eyes have it.

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