Abandon all hope moviegoers who enter a theater showing this film. The dark psychological crime drama that is “Secret In Their Eyes” starts with the chilling murder of a teenage girl. Within the first five minutes of this movie what soul you have will feel lost. The film does well enough to leave some of the murder to your imagination but depending on your imagination that might be worse than just showing it. There is little joy found at all in this dark tale and from beginning to end you journey further down the rabbit hole to encounter some of the worst aspects of humanity… and the movie was enjoyable even still.
Full kudos to director Billy Ray for his delivery of difficult and disturbing material. The performances he got from his all star cast was remarkable. The mental break down scene Jess (Julia Roberts) has when she finds her daughter murdered and left in a dumpster was impacting. Even how frantically she climbed into the dumpster and removed her gloves to feel her daughter while she suffered heartbreak and loss was powerful. You will believe every emotion you see on screen.
If Julia Roberts wasn’t enough this film gives us Alfred Molina, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It’s an Oscar worthy cast and I don’t believe the release of this film to start Oscar season was a mistake. The characters are believable as only actors of this caliber can be. The characters are rich, calculated, emotional and provocative. There is not a single complaint from the performances I saw on screen. This movie is an acting delight.
The critiques I have for this film are more technical in the way the story was told and the way scenes were captured. The story is told in two time lines, simultaneously. One story is moving forward while the other is feeding us background information. For a while I thought I was on track but then realized I was no longer following the present but the past. I started to wonder if this method was intentionally confusing. If it wasn’t meant to add confusion then it missed the mark. The other issue was how long it took to establish a shot. The camera would pan or zoom slowly as if to add tension but it felt slowly paced and tiresome. That being said, the surprise twist ending is well thought out and did in fact surprise me. So there’s that.
“Secret In Their Eyes” is in Theaters now! I give this film all the Prozac necessary to keep it in theaters a little while longer. It’s not a film for everyone but it’s certainly acted well enough for anyone who enjoys topnotch performances. I recommend a theater viewing so Hollywood knows that even a choppy story, acted well, is worth being made with actors of this quality.
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