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

Random Factoid #289

13 05 2010

Two months after it won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars and one month after it opened in the USA, “The Secret in Their Eyes” (FUN FACT: the Spanish title, “El Secreto de sus Ojos” actually means “The Secret of Their Eyes) finally makes its way to Houston tomorrow.

As some of you may recall, I was in Argentina for three weeks in January.  “The Secret in Their Eyes” is an Argentinian film, and when I was there, I knew it had made the shortlist for Best Foreign Film.

I saw posters advertising the DVD of the movie in the windows of electronics stores in the streets of Buenos Aires.  They were practically ubiquitous.  I thought about buying it, but I don’t know what stopped me.  South American DVDs work in our players.

When I came back, it made the list of five actual nominees.  I then realized that very few people in the United States had seen this movie, and if they had, they were critics or high-society film people.  In other words, it would be doubtful that any amateur bloggers would have seen it.

So now, I’m hitting myself (figuratively, not literally) for not buying it.  Hopefully it doesn’t leave in the next two weeks … don’t know how much moviegoing time I will have with finals coming up.

P.S. – Thanks to Mad Hatter at “The Dark of the Matinee” for inspiring this factoid with his review of the movie.