THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (Juan Jose Campanella)

It was a terrible crime that forever affected the life of legal counselor Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin). As we see at the opening vignette, Esposito is finding meaning in his life, troubled by an unrequited love with his superior, Judge Irene Menendez-Hastings (Soledad Villamil) and the mentioned unsolved crime during his younger days.

As EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS establishes the mood and its characters, the images play out almost as if in Almodovar fashion, but what makes this Argentine film outstanding and very much deserving of its Academy Award for Foreign Language Film (2010) is its sublety and empathy at discussing a highly sensitive and heinous crime, and for interweaving a heartfelt tale of longing and love that can never be. There is a daring originality in this noir procedural, and the surprise finish terrified me at my nerves.

Three other main characters add enigma to the story: Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), Benjamin's drunkard colleague, Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), the husband of the raped and murdered woman, and Isidoro Gomez (Javier Godino), the victim's former flame who is currently the prime suspect in the murder.

Throughout the film there is like a roller coaster of 'who really did it' and why. That is really the fun element in procedural films: you get to follow the investigation as if you are indeed the one doing the probing.

The script, which really gets under the skin is celeverly-written. The morality imposed is a thougfht-provoking question. What do we do when justice is not served?

Like I said, this film is really an entertaining crime thriller, but the goodie really is the shocking climax. "You said life," says Ricardo. I didn't see that one coming.



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