Friday, May 11, 2012

Movie Review: The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

El Secreto de sus ojos (original title) R 129 min. Directed by Juan José Campanella and starring
Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil and Pablo Rago. IMDB page. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Secret in Their Eyes won Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 and oh my, did it ever deserve it. What a great movie.

Based on the 2005 book by Eduardo Sacheri (published in the U.S. in 2011 by Other Press), who also worked on the screenplay, it's a crime story crossed with a love story and you can read my review here for a fuller description of the plot.

And as much as I enjoyed the book, I think the movie is even better. Some small changes were made here and there but the basic story and structure are the same.  In other words, if you read the book first you'll notice some differences but there won't be any big surprises.

So anyway, the movie. Wow. First of all, the actors are amazing. The relationship between the leads, Soledad Villamil as Irene and Ricardo Darín as Benjamin, is low-key and repressed and passionate at the same time, and you see every emotion play out across their faces in the past and the present tense of the film. I loved both of them and rooted for them every time they were together on screen.  

The crime story plays out essentially as it does in the book. The film lacks some of the detail behind exactly how things unfold but director Campanella tells you what you need to know to get the point. He also plays up the social class difference between Irene and Benjamin and their relative positions in Argentine society, and how that affects what happens to Benjamin when the murder case becomes ensnared in the politics of the time.

I loved this movie. It has two endings, one to the crime story and one to the love story. One ending is chilling; the other is wonderful and perfect. Whether or not you decide to read the book, you should see the movie, like, today, even if you think you don't like arty subtitled Oscar winners. It's a winner!
It's rated R and includes gun violence and a graphic rape scene at the very beginning of the film.

Rating: RUSH to see it! (the movie equivalent of Buy!)