El secreto de sus ojos [The Secret in Their Eyes] (2009)

The Secret in Their Eyes is a movie by Juan José Campanella, starring Ricardo Darín and Soledad Villamil. It won the foreign language Oscar 2010.

Benjamín (Ricardo Darín) is a recently retired DA. In his retirement, he starts to write a book about a twenty year old case that he was never able to let go off: The rape and murder of Liliana Coloto (Carla Quevedo). With his former boss Irene (Soledad Villamil) as a sounding board, Benjamín delves back into the story to try and find some kind of closure.

The Secret in Their Eyes really is an excellent movie, though it might be the teensiest bit too long. But it has a brilliant script, a captivating story and most of all a wonderful cast.

Since the last foreign language Oscar winning movies I’ve seen were good, but nothing really that special, I didn’t expect too much from The Secret in Their Eyes, especially since I’m not that much of a fan of crime fiction in general. But it really was a brilliant movie.

The script was wonderful – intelligent, well-plotted, with a thoughtful (and more than bittersweet) ending and great characters – and Juan José Campanella handles it deftly [the way he tells the love story is enough to make this movie completely worth it]. Though, as I said before, the film is a bit too long, Campanella and his cinematographer Félix Monti more than make up for it with their wonderful visuals.

I was also very impressed by Ricardo Darín. First of all, he has this scrunched up quality that all great TV detectives (and similar professions) have, which of course isn’t really his achievement. But he also plays his Esposito so well, that he actually manages to stand out amidst a cast that is generally absolutely stellar, from Soledad Villamil to Guillermo Francella to the various assholes populating the court.

Since this was quite a serious movie, it was also surprisingly funny. There were several times where I laughed out loud – and I really did not expect that.

Summarising: Excellent filmmaking, definitely recommended.

Before the film they showed an Austrian short movie, Nachnacht. Which is trying very hard to be artsy, but it’s also rather effective and looks quite wonderful. Will be interesting to see more of its director Herwig Kerschner.

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