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The Secret in Their Eyes

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
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!
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 13 August 2010
  • Duration:129 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Juan José Campanella
  • Cast:
    • Pablo Rago
    • Ricardo Darín
    • Javier Godino
    • Soledad Villamil
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