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Secret in Their Eyes

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Secret in Their Eyes

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Chiwetel Ejiofor leads an A-team cast, but this remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian thriller is a disappointment

This weak remake of the 2009 Oscar-winning Argentinian thriller ‘The Secret in their Eyes’ gives us a cast to get excited about, if little else: Julia Roberts is a pale-faced, prematurely aged Los Angeles cop still mourning her murdered daughter 13 years on. Nicole Kidman is her high-flying judicial colleague and Chiwetel Ejiofor is their former colleague in a post-9/11 counter-terrorism unit who still obsessively searches for the girl’s killer. There’s unfinished business all round: Ejiofor (by far the most energetic thing about the film) still holds a flame for Kidman; Kidman might regret having rejected him in the first place; and Ejiofor has his reasons for trying to solve a case which his superiors have long since dropped for spurious reasons.

The trickle-down effect of institutional corruption is part of the movie’s point: good people behave crazily when their superiors set a warped agenda. But while the original movie persuaded us that the military dictatorship in 1970s Argentina could inspire jaw-dropping behaviour, its equivalent here feels extremely bogus. Can we believe that police officers would let a psychopathic rapist and murderer go free in the name of fighting homegrown terrorism? As an allegory for human rights abuses during the War on Terror, it's a non-starter. Writer-director Billy Ray (the writer of ‘Captain Phillips’ and the first ‘The Hunger Games’) honours the Argentine original with keynote scenes set in a mirrored lift and a crowded sports stadium, but the mood is too often sluggish and pedestrian.

Dave Calhoun
Written by
Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 26 February 2016
  • Duration:111 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Billy Ray
  • Screenwriter:Billy Ray
  • Cast:
    • Nicole Kidman
    • Julia Roberts
    • Chiwetel Ejiofor
    • Alfred Molina
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