The Secret in Their Eyes (10/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 127 minutes.
Not for children.
This is a movie on many
different levels, so, obviously, it wasn’t made by an American studio.
Writer/Director Juan José Campanella made the
movie, based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri, as a commentary on
loneliness, but it combines a pretty straight-forward crime mystery with
a story of unspoken love and chances missed. Also thrown in are
references to Peronista Argentina and
the political favoritism that followed.
Recently retired Benjamin
Espósito (Ricardo Darin), a former Buenos Aires investigator for the state
criminal courts, embarks writing on a novel about a rape/murder of a
23-year-old woman in 1974 that has haunted him ever since. He tells the
gorgeous judge, Irene (Soledad Villamil), who was also involved then and
with whom he has carried a huge torch for a quarter century. The story
of the novel is told in flashbacks, but Espósito finds himself in the
middle of a political mess extending into the present.
Espósito forms an emotional
attachment to the victim’s husband, Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), whose
devotion and love for his wife contrasts with Espósito’s feelings for
Irene. Espósito is aided by his drunken partner Sandoval (Guillermo
Francella, a famous Argentine comic) in tracking down his suspect, Gomez
An old man eating alone. It was that image that
haunted me and finally took me back to the novel. Not the crime itself.
Or the suspense. Or the genre. The Old Man eating alone. How does
someone end up all alone in life? Does that Old Man wonder how he ended
up eating alone in a bar with no one by his side? One can deny it,
forget about it, cover it up for a time, but the past always comes back.
Perhaps during the second act of his life, the Old Man managed to ignore
what he had done during the first act, but if he wants to make a
successful transition into the third act, he will have to deal with his
was to tell this story as a combination: of small beings wandering
through a sea of people, among huge structures, lost in the crowd - and
their eyes. The story of that man walking by a hundred meters away at
the train station, with five hundred bodies between us and him. What
could we learn about him if suddenly, with no cuts, we could see a close
up of his eyes? What secrets would they have to tell?
The result is this
brilliantly told story highlighted by outstanding acting. While all the
performances are good, Godino creates a
memorable suspect. Even the subtitles have only one or two flaws. While
they sometimes are flashed off too quickly, and while not as good as
they could be, they are much better than the normal subtitled movie.
This is as good a movie as
I’ve seen so far this year. In Spanish.