The Secret In Their Eyes

This 2010 Argentinean story of a retired lawyer reliving a case from 25 years ago starts slow, but after about half an hour finds its feet, becoming a gripping, thought provoking thriller.

Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin, excellent) has become bored of retired life, and wants to write a novel based on his most interesting case, that of the rape and murder of a 23-year old schoolteacher a quarter of a century ago. Flitting between his modern-day remembering with the upper class boss he never had the guts to say he loved and the case itself, the film is difficult to initially pigeonhole, as it can’t decide if it’s a crime procedural, romantic drama or nostalgia piece, and is overall too slow. A turning point is reached when the cinematography kicks it up a notch with the stunning scene that starts with the camera flying through the air towards a football stadium, dives into the crowd and on to our protagonist and his alcoholic assistant searching the throngs for suspects. Seemingly unedited we follow them as a chase breaks out behind the scenes, through a bathroom brawl, down quite a long drop and onto the pitch mid-game; stunning.
Though the case appears to be all wrapped up just after the half-way mark, yet solving the case isn’t the only hurdle that must be overcome for justice to prevail. Creatively shot, with characters usually framed by doorways, piles of books, paperwork or grimy windows, this plays out like a particularly classy episode of your favourite law-based TV series (don’t have one myself), and there is more tension in one brief, wordless elevator scene it’s almost unbearable. Some scenes, particularly early on, do not realise their full potential – a raid on an elderly woman’s house in search of evidence could have been more of a set piece, though there is a nice chuckle to be had at its payoff.

A worthwhile film who’s ending and key scenes will stay with you, but if the Hollywood remake in the cards ever come to fruition (and I hope it doesn’t) then they need to wprk on the start.

Choose film 7/10

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