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The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

El secreto de sus ojos

Starring:

Alejandro Abelenda

Bárbara Palladino

Carla Quevedo

Guillermo Francella

Javier Godino

Mario Alarcón

Pablo Rago

Rudy Romano

Sebastián Blanco

Soledad Villamil

Soledad Villamil

Directed by:

Juan José Campanella

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 129 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

Country: Argentina, Spain

Finally, the winner of 2010’s Oscar Best Foreign Language has arrived on British shores and it is well worth the wait. The Secret in Their Eyes is the best thing to come out of Argentina since prime beef steaks and inspirations for Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.

The Secret in Their Eyes centres around retired Argentinian federal justice agent Benjamín Espósito (Darín) who’s writing a novel based on an old closed murder case. The case in question was the brutal rape and murder of schoolteacher Liliana Coloto (Quevedo) during the 1970’s. Espósito was put on the case with his alcoholic partner Sandoval (Francella) to find the murderer and find justice for the heartbroken husband of the victim.  The story is told with flashbacks of their hunt for the killer and with Esposito reconnecting in the present with old acquaintances including department chief Irene Menéndez-Hastings (Villamil) with whom he shared more than just a working relationship.

The facets that make The Secret in Their Eyes particularly good are the ultra realistic dialogue and characterisation. Rather than the usual hardbitten detective , who just relays the really necessary dialogue, grimaces and moans about how hard it is being a cop on the front line, Espósito is sarcastic and funny and spouts crap just like a real person. The chemistry between the three law enforcers, Sandoval, Espósito and Menéndez-Hastings, is truly evident and this makes it easy to care for the plight of the characters whilst giving the romantic subplot some substance. The film is a lovely mixture of thriller, romance, comedy and mystery that mesh together so well to ensure you have a satisfying watch.

The inevitable capture of the murderer is a bit underwhelming and can be seen as the only let down however the murder aspect of the film is only really there to tie everything together not to be the main focus. So Campanella can be forgiven for this.

It's Got: Realistic characterisation and dialogue, an involving plot, a little bit of everything

It Needs: To have been here sooner

Summary

A worthy Oscar Winner that expertly blends mystery, romance, comedy and suspense to create a really moving and satisfying watch.

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