Tuesday, 28 December 2010
The Secret in Their Eyes 
Like the powerful German film The Lives of Others has often been known as the film that defeated Pan’s Labyrinth at the Oscars, Argentine film The Secret in Their Eyes too is often known as the film that upset the applecart of Oscar frontrunner The White Ribbon, often considered Haneke’s masterpiece. A lugubrious, but never uneventful, film, this Argentine movie is at once a somber character drama and a captivating crime procedural with enough mystery thrown in to keel the audience guessing. A retired advocate is planning to write a novel of a 1974 rape/murder case at Buenos Aires that didn’t just change his life, but also of those surrounding him. As he takes his plans to the lady judge he’s always been secretly in love with, elaborate flashbacks are used to chronicle the long-drawn and murky chain of events, leading finally to a totally unexpected dénouement. While on one hand the movie pictures a deplorable state filled with government corruption, red tape, bureaucracy and the likes, on the other it paints the various characters, not just the protagonist, but also the judge he’s smitten with, his loyal but garrulous friend, and the husband of the dead girl pining for vengeance, and the slimy guy who committed the crime, in minute details along with their fascinating interactions. The movie boasts of incredible, layered and restrained performances from its principal actors – Ricardo Darin as the terse but unrelenting protagonist is especially brilliant. Though the movie seem long to many, rest assured, it would keep one, for most of its length, at the edge of his seat thanks to the excellent storytelling.
Director: Juan Jose Campanella
Genre: Crime Drama/Thriller/Mystery/Police Procedural