Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francela
Director: Juan José Campanella
Running Time: 129 mins
The Secret In Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) is an Argentinian film about a retired legal counsellor who looks back on his past, hoping to find closure on an old murder case, while also assessing his unrequited love for an old colleague of his.
Not only does this film prove a riveting crime thriller, but it stands out amongst the genre because of a really strong emotional core, as Ricardo Darín’s moving performance allows The Secret In Their Eyes to work just as well as an emotional drama as a crime thriller, making it a thoroughly engrossing watch throughout.
Let’s start off with the crime side of the story, which is exciting right the way through. Although it may not have the immense unpredictability of the likes of Seven or Gone Girl, The Secret In Their Eyes takes you on a very entertaining and always riveting wild goose chase, as we see two legal counsellors becoming further and further engrossed in the mystery of a terrible crime.
Over the course of just over two hours, the mystery at hand keeps you fully hooked with the story and its characters, and while it occasionally misses the mark when it comes to the stunning reveals and twists that lie at its centre, it does have a strong sense of mystery and intrigue throughout that helps to make it a really rather exciting watch throughout.
With that said, however, the main reason why The Secret In Their Eyes really stands out is because of its fantastic character depth and emotion throughout. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers, this film doesn’t quite do anything immensely different on the mystery front, but the drama that it brings to the table are what really make it work so well, playing with an enthralling main character and the difficulties of memories and regret.
The performances are key in this regard, as Ricardo Darín proves both a likable and relatable presence as he assesses all that happened in his past, and as he looks back on the relationships he had back in the 1970s and what could have been, you’re able to establish a really strong emotional connection with him, further engrossing you in his story.
Alongside Darín is Soledad Villamil, who is absolute dynamite throughout. Although her role isn’t quite as deep as Darín’s, she has such a strong and riveting on screen presence, working brilliantly with her costar in portraying a complex professional and personal relationship, which I really enjoyed watching.
As a result, the film soon becomes more than a simple crime thriller, and is above all a really rather sentimental character piece, particularly in its portrayal of the past and how we look back on our own personal history, years after all has passed. It’s not quite nostalgic in that regard, but it evokes very strong and relatable emotions that really engrossed me throughout, bringing far more depth and intrigue to the table than I expected at first.
Overall, then, I enjoyed The Secret In Their Eyes. On the one hand an intriguing and exciting crime thriller throughout, albeit not one that’s quite as unpredictable as it often aims to be, yet on the other a powerful and deep personal drama with two excellent performances, it’s simply an engrossing film to watch right the way through, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.