The Secret in Their Eyes | EW.com

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The Secret in Their Eyes

The Secret in Their EyesAs if to guarantee that the title doesn't go to waste, the complicated characters in the sinuous Argentinean thriller The Secret in Their EyesThe Secret in Their EyesMystery and Thriller, DramaPT127MRAs if to guarantee that the title doesn't go to waste, the complicated characters in the sinuous Argentinean thriller The Secret in Their Eyes2010-04-15
WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD Javier Godino, Soledad Villamil, and Ricardo Darín in The Secret in Their Eyes

WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD Javier Godino, Soledad Villamil, and Ricardo Darín in The Secret in Their Eyes (Mario Antolini)

B

The Secret in Their Eyes

Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Drama; Starring: Ricardo Darin; Director: Juan Jose Campanella; Author: Juan Jose Campanella; Release Date Limited: 04/16/2010; Runtime (in minutes): 127; MPAA Rating: R

As if to guarantee that the title doesn’t go to waste, the complicated characters in the sinuous Argentinean thriller The Secret in Their Eyes frequently stare at one another in tight close-ups that encourage the audience to study each actor’s expressive orbs for clues: What really happened in a Buenos Aires rape and murder case still unresolved after 25 years? What’s going on in the head and heart of a recently retired criminal investigator-turned-novelist (Ricardo Darín) who has been hopelessly in love with his upper-class court colleague (Soledad Villamil) for a quarter of a century? Slipping the action between the past and the present, the movie — handsome and conventional enough to win this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film — also snakes its slow-moving way through genres. As written and directed by Juan José Campanella, The Secret in Their Eyes melds the elements of a whodunit, a mature romance, a damning political commentary, and even a serious buddy movie, as the former investigator works side-by-side with his devoted, alcoholic partner (famed Argentinean comic Guillermo Francella).

The performances are tender, the script elegant, the cinematography (especially during a virtuoso chase scene in a soccer stadium) artful. Listen closely, though, and you can almost hear the reassuring chung-CHUNG that marks the influence of the many episodes of Law & Order on the director’s résumé. Organized in a vague approximation of a three-episode L&O marathon, scenes regularly fade to black, then pick up elsewhere. All that’s missing are title cards with Argentinean addresses to map the progress as secrets are revealed before our eyes. B

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