The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) Directed by: Juan José Campanella Cast: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella, Pablo Rago Running Time: 2 hr 9 mins Rating: R Release Date: May 7, 2010 (limited)
PLOT: Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, this film from Argentina tells the story of a retired criminal court investigator (Darín) attempting to write a novel about a murder he was trying to solve 25 years ago.
WHO'S IT FOR? Do you like things that are the best? Well, this won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, didn't you just read that in the section above? You need more? Fine, it combines drama, mystery, love and a few thrills in a truly unforgettable picture.
EXPECTATIONS: I knew nothing. Except of course that if I had my choice, A Prophet would have won for best foreign film.
Ricardo Darín as Benjamín Esposito: We're just going to call him Ben, because Benjamín will just take too long to write every time. Ben is the only thing ordinary about this performance. I thought I recognized Darín, but instead I simply got him confused with the Most Interesting Man in the World, thanks Dos Equis'. We go back and forth between a 25 year period, and Darín does this flawlessly. You truly feel like you're on this journey of heartache and pain with Ben. This is the definition of more is less. Score: 10
Soledad Villamil as Irene Menéndez Hastings: It seems we're almost teased with Irene. I never feel like I totally know her, the world she comes from or the man she is going to marry. It's better this way. She's out of our reach just like she's out of Ben's. Stoic and strong, this is a well crafted character who actually makes you care about a scene as cliché as chasing after someone on a train who you just said good-bye to. Score: 9
Guillermo Francella as Pablo Sandoval: I don't know if Francella is known as a famous character actor in Argentina. I know some research could verify. But instead I'm just going to believe. He must regarded as one of the best, because he knocked this character out of the park. He's Ben's partner and town drunk. Though it does seem this town might have another drunk or two besides Pablo. He's full of great one-liners, intelligence and flaws. He also should have been nominated for an Oscar. Score: 10
Pablo Rago as Ricardo Morales: The love he feels for his murdered wife is completely realized when Ben encounters him at a train stop. We don't know much about Ricardo, but just like with Irene, I like it that way. Score: 8
TALKING: The film is in Spanish with English subtitles, so some of you won't have a problem keeping up. Once again the film utilizes "less is more." There are many things felt, not said. The line of only having a past and no future should sit with anyone who has lived through a great loss. Score: 9
SIGHTS: The soccer match is the scene cinematographer and special effects guys will drool over. It's fluid and powerful. There's great detail to everything though, the 25 year age difference is totally believable and not a distraction. I personally loved Ben's office. Stacks of books and papers. Score: 9
SOUNDS: The score used for tension was good, but the dramatic score was just slightly distracting. The sad violin is a little too overwhelming when I would have preferred silence. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: Ben walks into Irene's office. He talks of passion. I'm hooked, she's hooked, and then Pablo walks in for some comic relief.
ENDING: Door knob. It's a closed door and the perfect way to go out. That's all I will say. That, and I definitely didn't see it coming until Ben pieced everything together.
QUESTIONS: What director is going to remake this in America? Some will complain, because it's already great. But this would then draw more attention to the original, so quit complaining.
REWATCHABILITY: Yes, though I think I want it to simmer for a while, so I can wait until Blu-ray.
A Prophet is the best foreign language film of 2009. Oops. A Prophet was the best. I was wrong. I acted too quickly. It's time to move on. The Academy totally nailed this one. It almost makes me want to forgive them for over-giving to The Hurt Locker instead of Inglourious Basterds. Almost.
I've noticed if I start to fall in love with a foreign film, I start thinking who should play these roles if an American filmmaker decides to remake the film. With this one I landed on Daniel Day-Lewis or George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones (who I normally don't care for) and Gene Hackman in the supporting role. Don't we want Hackman to win another Oscar? Or we can throw a bone to my friend Eric D. Snider and cast his man Michael Caine. Though Michael Douglass might be a good choice and that way he works with his wife.
The Secret in Their Eyes will stay with you long after you've left the theater. Patience, justice, and true love. Those are just a few of the things this film nails. It takes a train station scene and breathes new life into it. It takes you down some dark paths you didn't see coming. Most importantly, it puts you in Ben's shoes on this epic journey. For a foreign film to do that, is truly impressive.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10