Secret in Their Eyes
Time Out says
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.
Cast and crew