“If you keep going over the past, you’re going to end up with a thousand pasts and no future”. Directed by Juan José Campanella, the 2010 Oscar Winner for Best Foreign Film, The Secret in Their Eyes is a beautiful tale of loss, regret, and justice.
The film begins with Benjamin Esposito, a retired detective from what I can gather in the Argentina police system. Benjamin is writing a novel, which is based on the experiences he had during his job. It seems in many of these films there is always the one case that continually gnaws at the retired detective and that’s very much the case here. Ben relives the case as we see the same actors playing the same characters roughly ten years apart. The case in question concerns a a young, recently married woman who is brutally raped and murdered. Ben thinks he’s onto the killer but things don’t go exactly as he had planned. In addition, the film isn’t solely concerned with the police procedural aspect, as the sup-plot of the film is about Ben and the love he feels for his boss Irene. Irene is too good for him, from a superior family, and shouldn’t be caught dead with him, at least in the court of public opinion. This is the part of the film that really elevates the film to an Oscar winner. The relationship or lack there of, is played realistic with complications and many things left unsaid. It’s a universal story of love that I found to be particularly engaging and thought provoking.
The stand out of the film for me was the main character of Ben as played by Ricardo Darín. He has a look of a man who’s seen too much and battled to put things right. What’s interesting about the performance is how subdued everything is. Darin plays the role like it’s really him in that nothing is showy and there are no large “Oscar clips” to show off how good of a job he’s doing in the acting department. What I love most about the foreign film is I was unaware of who any of these actors were and it frankly makes for a better film watching experience. In the world of cinema it’s widely believed that there are movie stars and then there are actors. Ricardo Darin is an actor in every sense of the word, and one of the finest I’ve seen in a long time. Give this movie a chance, it’s well worth the time.