Secret in Their Eyes Movie Review
La Pregunta de Sus Jos (translating to The Question in Their Eyes) is a 2005 thriller novel, written by Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri. Four years following the book’s release, Argentinian filmmaker Juan José Campanella adapted it into a film called The Secret in Their Eyes. The movie earned critical acclaim receiving multiple awards in both Spain and Hollywood, including an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards. Now, only six years after the successful film’s release, comes the American remake, Secret in Their Eyes, from writer-director Billy Ray.
Secret in Their Eyes tells the story of FBI investigators, Jess (Julia Roberts), Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and their supervisor Claire (Nicole Kidman), who are carefully watching a mosque in Los Angeles shortly after the attack on America on September 11. However, the three are ripped apart after they discover that Jess’s teenage daughter was brutally murdered and left in a dumpster near the mosque. Thirteen years later, after Ray left the Bureau, he returns to LA after finding a new lead that feels can finally close the case on the murder.
One of the most appealing elements of Secret in Their Eyes is the fantastic cast. Academy Award winners Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman teaming with Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor should be a recipe for a masterpiece. Instead, I was just left wondering how this incredibly talented team found themselves in such a generic picture. Also, I came to wonder how some of these players were in fact cast. Ejiofor was good but gives us nothing too memorable as his character is stuck in a boring love angle with Kidman. She, out of them, feels the most miscast. Roberts has certain moments in her performance that are noteworthy. The moment she realizes it’s her daughter that has been tragically murdered, her reaction is soul-crushing. But, unfortunately, that’s the only moment in the film that garners an emotional response. The rest of Secret in Their Eyes just passes the audience by, leaving us waiting for another moment that will emotionally intrigue us—unfortunately, that moment never comes.
Secret in Their Eyes was a film that I had high hopes for, and maybe that’s why I was so disappointed with the American remake. Ray’s latest picture makes one of the biggest offenses in my book; it doesn’t mean anything. I failed to find any real message or purpose but found nothing other than the idea of remaking something that did fairly well at the Academy Awards. The movie fails to be thrilling, or suspenseful. There is a sequence that takes place in a stadium that holds some excitement, but it’s miniature compared to the many dull and prolonged intimate conversations between Kidman and Ejiofor. Then the movie comes to the climax and the “twist.” This was the part of the movie I hoped to sit up in my seat and have my mind blown, but like that emotional, intriguing moment, that didn’t happen either. Then, as the credits began to roll, I quickly realized how much of the film I had already forgotten. So, I guess I’ve let the secret out—it’s just not that entertaining.
-By Jacob Tiranno
In case you missed our video review for this week, check it out below: