Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Movie with Abe: The Secret in their Eyes

The Secret in their Eyes
Directed by Juan José Campanella
Released April 16, 2010

The Argentinean film that bested “The White Ribbon” and “A Prophet” for the Best Foreign Film prize at the Oscars last month has finally made its way over to the United States. It proves to be an extensive tale just as comprehensive and time-spanning as those of the other two aforementioned films. One man’s spirited investigation into a murder takes its effect on the victim’s husband, the perpetrator, the man himself, and all those who come into contact with him. The passion with which federal justice agent Benjamin Esposito pursues the case for a number of years is inspiring, and it’s a fiercely intriguing and engaging film.

As suggested by its title, “The Secret in their Eyes” is a film that delves deep into the souls, motivations, and characters of the people whose lives it features. It comes at its subject matter from two different angles in the form of time periods twenty-five years apart. The story is exposed both in the present and the past, and it’s a fitting way to get to know the characters and see just how much they’ve changed before fully understanding why they do what they do. It’s as if there are twice as many characters to meet – the past and present forms of these protagonists, so different in their novice and elder forms.

What makes “The Secret in their Eyes” such an invigorating, enchanting, and thrilling film is a solid story that’s legitimately interesting and full of intriguing plot developments, properly spacing out the twists and turns throughout the whole of the film’s runtime. Four main performances also serve to shape, enhance, and guide the film. Ricardo Darin is an excellent public servant who charges himself with much more than what lies in his job description as protagonist Benjamin Esposito. Guillermo Francella provides some much-needed comic relief as Esposito’s partner and friend Sandoval, ultimately proving to be a loyal and devoted companion for Esposito in his quest to find justice. Pablo Rago is exceptional and sympathetic as Ricardo Morales, the man who quietly demands justice for the senseless and brutal murder of his wife. And then there is the marvelous Soledad Villamil, first seen in her older, far more sophisticated form and then introduced as the object of Esposito’s affection. Villamil is mesmerizing as Irene Menendez Hastings, and her interactions with Darin’s Esposito are among the film’s best moments. This is a movie equally about story and characters, and it excels in both areas.


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