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Release Date
May 21, 2010
Director
Juan José Campanella
Screenplay
Juan José Campanella
Eduardo Sacheri
Based On A Novel By
Eduardo Sacheri
Distributed By
Haddock Films
Budget
$2 million
Crime, Drama, Foreign, Mystery, Romance
Rated Unrated for a rape scene, violent images, some graphic nudity and language
129 minutes

The Secret In Their Eyes

This year at the Academy Awards, a Spanish language film entitled The Secret In Their Eyes took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, beating out films like the French film A Prophet and the German film The White Ribbon. Having only viewed two of the five nominated films, The Secret In Their Eyes and The White Ribbon, I can only speak for between those two films in particular. My best judgment told me that The White Ribbon deserved the Oscar, with its unique style and ability to carry a black and white film into the 21st Century. The Secret In Their Eyes, though not without its faults, still comes off original, and comes in a close second for my pick for winning the Oscar. However, the Academy saw differently.

The White Ribbon carried a style and mood throughout its entirety. The film never failed to be suspenseful and proved to be a unique experience. The Secret In Their Eyes fails on this account. Coming off as most of the “foreign” films this year, like the Red Riding Trilogy and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, there is just not enough originality happening to keep the viewer’s attention. Most of the films are coming off recycled and drab, with the exciting moments glazed over because in comparison to other films of their genres, they are inept. The same goes for the Oscar winning Secret In Their Eyes.

Additionally, the attempt at experiencing the characters in different generations of their life, though done in hundreds of films these days, was lost in the fact that make-up became an eye sore, most particularly the make-up of the “older” version of Soledad Villamil begins to look plastered instead of natural, while Ricardo Darín’s “younger” version is simply a man without gray hair. If a film is going to make the effort to do a parallel storyline with different generations of the characters, the make-up should at least be believable.

There are moments in The Secret In Their Eyes that reveals a glimmer of why this film won the award on the big night. The shocking end of the film was sinister and profound, which ultimately made the film worth viewing, but the journey to get there was less than admirable. Also, there are specific scenes that successfully build intense emotion and wake the viewer from the recycled haze to actually evoke a response. One of these scenes includes Soledad Villamil and Ricardo Darín riding an elevator when the man that they put in prison for a crime that he may have been coerced into admitting guilty to, Javier Godino, cocks a loaded gun without a single word in front of them for the intimidation factor.

I am not here to say that the Academy does not know what they are doing in awarding the Oscar to The Secret In Their Eyes. I am simply here to state that out of the two Oscar nominated foreign films that I viewed this year, The White Ribbon appeared superior to The Secret In Their Eyes in a majority of categories. The Secret In Their Eyes does, however, hold key moments that sets it apart from a large chunk of foreign films being released this year and for that, it becomes worth viewing at least once in a lifetime.

 

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