Co-Writer/Director: Juan José Campanella
Running time: 125 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
Genre: Drama/Mystery/Foreign Language
UK Release date: 13th August 2020
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 4th June 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
First off I had better warn you that this film is in Spanish, with subtitles, so if you are put off by either of these, read no further. For those that are left, in 2010 it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, so I hoped it would have some potential… I was right! It is set in Argentina in 1999 but mostly told in flashback to 1974. A story involving the investigation into a rape and murder and also an unreciprocated love story make up the plot of this very interesting drama. I enjoyed it very much and even when I thought it was dragging a bit towards the end there were still more revelations to come. Here’s a very brief summary.
Benjamín Esposito is a retired legal counsellor, with time on his hands he has decided to write a novel based on one of his former cases. The case, from 1974, involves the rape and murder of schoolteacher, Liliana Coloto. She had recently married Ricardo Morales, a bank clerk. In flashback we are told about the initial investigation which was not successful in bringing about a prosecution. Back in the present, we meet Esposito’s former boss, now district attorney, Irene Menéndez Hastings. The pair has some history which Esposito wants to include in his novel. Back to flashback and Esposito and his colleague, Pablo Sandoval, discover another suspect who they don’t seem able to locate. That is until Sandoval, who is a bit of a drunk, has a revelation and figures out a way to find him. This they do, but will justice be served? There is a lot more, but I won’t tell you that here for fear of the spoiler police getting hold of me.
This film has a very deliberate pace about it, nothing is rushed but still it keeps the audience interested. There is some really great dialogue which I found added a great deal of substance to the piece. Great performances all round; Ricardo Darín did a tremendous job as Benjamín Esposito, he has that look of a man weary of his work about him that I liked very much. Soledad Villamil was great as his former boss Irene Menéndez Hastings and Pablo Rago was equally good as the grieving Ricardo Morales. Finally, a special mention for Guillermo Francella who put in a great turn as the unassuming drunk, Pablo Sandoval.
I really enjoyed this film, I found the flipping between the flashbacks and 1999 was very well done and didn’t disturb the flow of the story too much. As I’ve already said, some of the dialogue is truly excellent (take note any budding screenwriters out there). It is all very well made, but I found the plot and the quality of the writing stand up very well. I should finally mention a beautiful haunting score by Federico Jusid and Emilio Kauderer, a wonderful piece of work. So, if you’re not put off by subtitles I can highly recommend this Argentinean/Spanish co-production.
My Score: 8.7/10
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1305806/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/secret_in_their_eyes/
Official Site (US): http://www.sonyclassics.com/thesecretintheireyes/