REVIEW: The Secret in Their Eyes

22 02 2016

When reviewing Billy Ray’s 2015 film “Secret in Their Eyes,” I compared it rather unflatteringly to the 2010 Argentinian film upon which it was based, Juan José Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes.” More separates them than a definite pronoun and a culture swap. The remake is a pulpier, more genre-laden crime flick while the Oscar-winning original is a more character-based drama with political overtones.

Or, at least that’s what I thought … until I watched “The Secret in Their Eyes” again for a more detailed comparison. I might have overly trumpeted the virtues of Campanella’s film in anger over two wasted hours of my time watching the revamp. Truth is, I found the film somewhat above average when I first saw it in 2010. It has not gotten much better with age.

Campanella marries the noirish thriller with overwrought melodrama and never quite finds a satisfying register for his film. As retired Argentinian judiciary official Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darín) reflects back on the one case he never quite cracked by writing a novel, the antics just never prove twisted or politically charged enough to elicit gasps or prove thoughts. It straddles that awkward line between entertainment and art, selling itself convincingly as neither. The film is fine to watch – just not quite to the level of being recommendable, though. B2halfstars

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