Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Secret In Their Eyes. 2010

The surprise winner of last year’s best foreign language film at the Oscars, (A prophet or The White Ribbon were the front runners) is a pretty good tough and tangy thriller from Argentina. Kneaded into this film are of course politics. And even though this is just a thriller the climate of the horrible years of Argentina's merciless dictatorship coats the film like a dusting of flour. The story itself is pretty simple and straightforward. In 1999 a retired court investor decides to revisit a horrible rape and murder case that he worked on in 1974 which was never solved in order to write a book about it. The actor Ricardo Darín who is unknown to me and this helped to make his character more authentic plays Benjamin with a melancholy glow and a real sense of regret and remorse in his demeanor. He’s also somewhat plain looking which also helps (can you imagine what big time movie star would play this part if Heaven forbid Hollywood gets its mitts on it for a remake which has been happening with unhappy frequency of late) Going back and forth from the present to the past, Benjamin revisits his old boss and former colleague, Irene (Soledad Villamil) who is now a judge to get her take on the case and to feel her out about the book. Unrequited feelings between the two after 25 years are still on the surface of their long ago friendship, and this gives the film its romantic subtext. The murder of this young woman is only glimpsed in flashbacks, but we do get to see the results of this horrible act when Benjamin visits the crime scene and becomes obsessed in finding the killer. He is assisted by his alcoholic but steady friend and colleague Sandoval played by the very good Guillermo Francella. I must admit that I’m a sucker for Spanish language films, I just love how the language sounds, like hot rice pudding with raisins, so right off the bat I was all comfy and cozy with this film. And who doesn’t like a good creepy thriller every once in a while? And there are indeed some creepy moments (the climax is especially full of dread and suspense). The director Juan José Campanella who has done a lot of work on American television knows how to use his camera and keep the action moving and this is especially evident in a nearly cliche sequence at a railroad station (how many times have we seen this scene) and an impressive aerial shot of a soccer stadium where the camera swoops in for a close-up the two leads who are following a suspect in the large crowd. The ending was a little upbeat for me, but still this was one of the better films of last year.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter