The Secret in Their Eyes (18)

Film

Thrillers

Secret.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Aug 10 2010

That this Argentine film won this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar over ‘The White Ribbon’ and ‘A Prophet’ says more about the voters than the films. Essentially a grand, time-hopping police procedural of ‘Inspector Morse’ levels of ingenuity, souped up with some naff music, heavily filtered camerawork and a theme of romantic longing spanning 25 years, it’s a film of enormous pretension and not enough reward.

We move between 1974 and the late 1990s. In the film’s present, former prosecutor, grey-haired Benjamín (Ricardo Darín) is writing a novel inspired by a key episode in his career: the case, 25 years earlier, of the rape and murder of a beautiful young woman. This was an event which pitched go-getting, principled Benjamin against judicial corruption (a symptom, we assume, of the military dictatorship) and cemented his unspoken feelings for his better-educated, better-bred new boss, Irene (Soledad Villamil), whose arrival in their wood-panelled offices coincides with this death.

The hunt for the killer takes up much of the two-hour-plus running time and is diverting enough, while the later penning of Benjamin’s book causes him to revisit both his friendship with Irene and the legacy of this case (calling for ample whitening of hair and dodgy make-up). It’s this cross-cutting and sense of time past and lost that’s meant to inspire a gradual embrace of ‘big’ themes, but the twin, shallow and pretty obvious ones that emerge are, firstly, that injustice breeds injustice and, secondly, that true love will triumph in the end. Cue orchestra!
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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Aug 13, 2010

Duration:

129 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|26
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Max

Another teenage reviewer from TIME getting it completely wrong. Go see it. It's possibly the best film you will have seen in 12 months.

Max

Another teenage reviewer from TIME getting it completely wrong. Go see it. It's possibly the best film you will have seen in 12 months.

Jaycee

This film had some plot elements that are quite commonplace but the execution, the atmosphere and the acting put it into a much higher league. The performances are wonderful - it's a shame Francella (who played the drunk, Sandoval, wasn't eligible for an oscar), and the growing power of the fascists was well-handled without being laboured. A very engrossing experience, and one of the best films of the past few years. I have been reading Time Out for over 20 years - I guess I am imagining it, but it seems the reviews used to be more reliably in tune with what cinemagoers thought,. Clearly every reviewer's opinion must be respected, but overall TO reviewers' opinions seem skewed away from a consensus in a way which makes it seems bloody-minded and precious, in a way that those of the more populist Empire Magazine, say, do not. Oh well, It's only the movies!

Jaycee

This film had some plot elements that are quite commonplace but the execution, the atmosphere and the acting put it into a much higher league. The performances are wonderful - it's a shame Francella (who played the drunk, Sandoval, wasn't eligible for an oscar), and the growing power of the fascists was well-handled without being laboured. A very engrossing experience, and one of the best films of the past few years. I have been reading Time Out for over 20 years - I guess I am imagining it, but it seems the reviews used to be more reliably in tune with what cinemagoers thought,. Clearly every reviewer's opinion must be respected, but overall TO reviewers' opinions seem skewed away from a consensus in a way which makes it seems bloody-minded and precious, in a way that those of the more populist Empire Magazine, say, do not. Oh well, It's only the movies!

Ed King

Yet another embarrasingley off key `Timeout review which is completely out of touch with cinema goers. Getting really fed up with such inconsistent reviews in Timeout.

Ed King

Yet another embarrasingley off key `Timeout review which is completely out of touch with cinema goers. Getting really fed up with such inconsistent reviews in Timeout.

Scopey

A review full of pretension with little reward. This is a beautiful film with lovely re-occurring sub-plots, nuances and fantastic acting. Oh and a fabulous unexpected twist. I particularly loved the scene at the football stadium, of beauty, exhilaration and suspense all in a single camera shot. Do not listen to to this review, this film is a once in a decade masterpiece.

Scopey

A review full of pretension with little reward. This is a beautiful film with lovely re-occurring sub-plots, nuances and fantastic acting. Oh and a fabulous unexpected twist. I particularly loved the scene at the football stadium, of beauty, exhilaration and suspense all in a single camera shot. Do not listen to to this review, this film is a once in a decade masterpiece.

martin janson

I am a great fan of time out but sometimes they do get it horribly wrong. This movie is terrific entertainment and should not be missed. It is flawed but rivetting.

Stephen

Very stylish film; beautifully shot, with a subtle use of symbolism: the sort of thing you could never get from a US film. Has Dave Calhoun been drafted in from covering the US wrestling section of Timeout due to staff shortages? It is the only way I can rationalise his review. 5 stars doesn't give enough scope for a sincere review: nothing is perfect, so excellent to very good, and even slightly good films end up getting 4! just a thought..

Paul A

One of the best films I have seen in a long time. Good old fashioned storytelling, great characters and good acting.

Paul A

One of the best films I have seen in a long time. Good old fashioned storytelling, great characters and good acting.

Paul

I agree that TO are being a tad harsh and I was far more impressed by A Prophet than this. Yet it is an enjoyable yarn that would have benefited from some harsh edits to cut out the flab. A full house last night at the cinema surprised me compared to a near empty house for the new Girl Who ... But as John C says, this is a grown-up movie and worth seeing.

Phil Ince

Good to see that Dave Calhoun's been studying online film criticism. No pay-off yet but, even so, self-education should always be applauded. The film has a 5 star start for the first half hour. Dips to 4 for a comedy segment and winds up an odd sort of 3 star horror. The events depend on some actions that undermine the central characters’ (the comedy break-in, the bungled arrest at the football match – unbelievable start to the scene though; Orson Welles, eat your heart out!). The combined effect of some over-familiar comedy with Esposito’s and Sandoval’s foolishness wrecks it as a drama. Both the moments when the accused murderer discloses himself to Irene and the denoeument should be chilling and they aren’t. It finishes as a petty film that seems to have used some nasty Argentine history as a backdrop rather than illuminated it. I thought White Ribbon was over-rated but isn’t Dave right?, this is a lesser film.

Neil

@icfecex; actually I think the subtitle is "dimwit"; and I remember thinking at the time that it may be not be quite enough to explain his failure to act on his feelings and more problematically her failure to act on his very clear signals. So thank you for your helpful explanation of the Spanish.

Ahtisaari

I don't get it. People complain about the lack of good films and here we are with three equally brilliant contestants for the best foreign language film. Unfortunately, only one had to win and I see why 'The Secret…' did it. Well balanced, almost poetic and subtle with excellent camera work and interlocked panels of darkness and light that wholly support themes of love, blood, violence and evil. The film does not render itself for an easy 'reading' and it takes a while before everything starts to fall into place. Especially touching is the strong friendship between Esposito and Sandoval, with the latter making the greatest sacrifice for his friend. Also the theme of love permeates the film from its first scene: 'The secret' is a film about separation, memories and unrealised dreams. Thankfully, for the rest of us there is resolution and fulfilment in the end, the door closes before our eyes and the secrets cease to exist.

Sutton

I agree with Mr Calhoun, in that the film was lucky to win Best Film at the Oscars, but then when do award ceremonies get the results right! Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable film, despite the mixing up of themes and lack of cohesion. The film covers missed opportunities, lost lives, friendships, love and opportunities. There is humour in the film and it is tender. I do think the film is worth seeing, but there are better foreign language films out there.

Bara Evans

This film is engrossing. It is thoughtful but never drags. Time Out gives it two stars. ordinary people give it five. Who would you trust? The review is another juvenile piece of pretentious and juvenile Time Out drivel. My rule is go to what Time Out says is poor, and it didn't fail me with this film. There is a serious pont here and that is that reviewers are not meant to be perverse for the sake of it, but insightful.

Bara Evans

This film is engrossing. It is thoughtful but never drags. Time Out gives it two stars. ordinary people give it five. Who would you trust? The review is another juvenile piece of pretentious and juvenile Time Out drivel. My rule is go to what Time Out says is poor, and it didn't fail me with this film. There is a serious pont here and that is that reviewers are not meant to be perverse for the sake of it, but insightful.

Pog A

Seriously Dave Calhoun recommended pretentious nonsense like White Material and Partir and then call this More like and pretentious. Time Out Film reviewing used to be a benchmark but recently it's become a joke. Romney, Bradshaw, French, Andrew, Newman et al please step up. Dave Calhoun is clueless

Pog A

Seriously Dave Calhoun recommended pretentious nonsense like White Material and Partir and then call this More like and pretentious. Time Out Film reviewing used to be a benchmark but recently it's become a joke. Romney, Bradshaw, French, Andrew, Newman et al please step up. Dave Calhoun is clueless

icfecex

"White Ribbon" and "A Prophet" are great films, and I agree with the review when declaring that "El Secreto..."'s choice "says more about the voters than the films". I have seen all three and liked them all. "El Secreto..." was very interesting and in line with Campanella and Darin's previous offerings: Tenderness, reminiscen... What I clearly buy from the movie are all the small details (their office - sewing of the dossiers -, the scenes at the popular cafes vs. the formal settings, the football clues - which come from football fans found at their natural element). A "Law and Order" episode? I can see why, since Director Campanella has actually helmed some episodes from the series. However, getting clues for crime solving takes time. I think a "L&A" episode is equivalent to gulping three cans of Coca-Cola, while "El Secreto..." is like drinking an excellent red wine. Choose your drink and you'll have your film. Language can pose a few problems here, since some of the vocabulary is nuanced. When Irene gives her opinion on the novel, after she asks (my translation) "If it was like this, why didn't you take me with you?" she then says "Panfilo", which is an old Spanish word meaning "naively stupid / stupid like a little child ". How was this translated in the English subtitles? If "stupid" was used, the emotion of the scene is mostly lost. Anyway, as I said, all three films are very good and wish that TimeOut had been more generous to "El Secreto...". No hard feelings.

icfecex

"White Ribbon" and "A Prophet" are great films, and I agree with the review when declaring that "El Secreto..."'s choice "says more about the voters than the films". I have seen all three and liked them all. "El Secreto..." was very interesting and in line with Campanella and Darin's previous offerings: Tenderness, reminiscen... What I clearly buy from the movie are all the small details (their office - sewing of the dossiers -, the scenes at the popular cafes vs. the formal settings, the football clues - which come from football fans found at their natural element). A "Law and Order" episode? I can see why, since Director Campanella has actually helmed some episodes from the series. However, getting clues for crime solving takes time. I think a "L&A" episode is equivalent to gulping three cans of Coca-Cola, while "El Secreto..." is like drinking an excellent red wine. Choose your drink and you'll have your film. Language can pose a few problems here, since some of the vocabulary is nuanced. When Irene gives her opinion on the novel, after she asks (my translation) "If it was like this, why didn't you take me with you?" she then says "Panfilo", which is an old Spanish word meaning "naively stupid / stupid like a little child ". How was this translated in the English subtitles? If "stupid" was used, the emotion of the scene is mostly lost. Anyway, as I said, all three films are very good and wish that TimeOut had been more generous to "El Secreto...". No hard feelings.

John C

Well - just as well I don't buy TO for the standard of the film criticism, eh. Lovely grown-up movie, beautifully shot, great characters and story. Worth seeing.

John C

Well - just as well I don't buy TO for the standard of the film criticism, eh. Lovely grown-up movie, beautifully shot, great characters and story. Worth seeing.