Sunday, June 22, 2014

Movie Review : The Secret in their Eyes

The most elite class of movies distinguish themselves in the way their effect lasts way longer than their runtime.

Like most foreign movies, “The Secret in their Eyes” gets way less attention than it deserves. It is testimony to the genius that Juan Jose Campanella is. Though, neither the movie, nor the director are well-known outside the sphere of unconventional cinema. Despite finding a place in the IMDb top 250, only recently did it come to my notice, when a friend suggested it.

Based on the novel "La pregunta de sus ojos" by Eduardo Sacheri, the movie starts off as Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin), a retired legal counsellor trying to write a novel, partially as an effort to come to terms with two unresolved tragedies of his life – his unreturned love for his superior Irene Hastings(Soledad Villamil); , and an unresolved homicide case that continues to haunt him.

It gives an excellent depiction of the criminal justice system of Argentina. It is also rather unapologetic of its take on crime and justice, which is one of the best things about the movie. As Esposito tries to recount his experiences, you see why each of the two things is a roadblock that he must get past to find peace with his life. The case involves the murder and rape of a married woman, Liliana Coloto which leaves the husband, Ricardo Morales harrowed and anguished. Esposito soon becomes close to Morales, and seems to understand the depth of his loss. "You have to see his eyes; they are in a state of pure love", Benjamín professes in front of Irene; his boss and the woman he loves. Both of them, Esposito and Ricardo, try to deal with their personal tragedies – Ricardo’s loss of his loving wife, and Esposito’s inability to confess his love for Irene; in their own ways. Esposito begins viewing the act of helping Ricardo get justice for his wife as atonement for his unspoken love for Irene. Determined to find the Ricardo’s wife’s killer, he goes against all odds, finding himself on both sides of law in the process. He ponders over his own personal experience with Irene and what could have been had his love been fruitful, and seeks Ricardo’s help in finding his own peace. The ending; is a masterclass by Campanella that haunts the viewer long after the credits start playing. Comes as close as it can to being the most unexpected climax in any movie I’ve ever seen.

The subtitled version does full justice to the movie, though the English dub is neatly done. With excellent performances from everyone, and Ricardo Darin distinguishing himself in his role, it is a film, worthy of finding a place in every movie-goer’s bucket list. It is also presents a strong case against limiting ourselves to Hollywood and shows us what we may be missing out on. So, the verdict being, catch it if you already haven’t.

- Shreeyesh Menon