NOVEMBER 4, 2010

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 viewed two of the five nominated films, “The Secret In Their Eyes” and “The White Ribbon,” I can only speak for 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 it differently.

“The White Ribbon” carried a style and mood throughout its entirety. The film never failed to be suspenseful and was 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 not enough originality happening to keep the viewer’s attention. Most of the films come 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 “The Secret In Their Eyes.”

Additionally, the attempt at characters in different generations of their life ruined the film, with the make-up becoming an eye sore. Most notably, the make-up of the “older” version of Soledad Villamil begins to look plastered instead of natural. In contrast, Ricardo Darín’s “younger” version is simply a man without gray hair. If a film is going to make an effort to do a parallel storyline with different generations of characters, the make-up should at least be believable.

In “The Secret In Their Eyes,” there are redeeming moments where you glimpse why it won big. The shocking end of the film was sinister and profound, which ultimately made the movie worth viewing, but the journey to get there was less than admirable. Also, specific scenes successfully build intense emotion and wake the viewer from the recycled haze to evoke a response. One of these scenes includes Soledad Villamil and Ricardo Darín riding an elevator with the man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. The man, 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 here to state that out of the two Oscar-nominated foreign films I viewed this year, “The White Ribbon” appeared superior to “The Secret In Their Eyes” in most categories. “The Secret In Their Eyes” does, however, hold critical moments that set it apart from a large chunk of foreign films this year, and for that, it becomes worth viewing at least once in a lifetime.

April 16, 2010

Juan José Campanella

Juan José Campanella
Eduardo Sacheri

“La pregunta de sus ojos”
by Eduardo Sacheri

Latido Films

(for a rape scene, violent images, some graphic nudity and language)

129 minutes

Félix Monti

Federico Jusid
Sebastian Kauderer

Juan José Campanella

Ricardo Darín
Soledad Villamil
Pablo Rago
Javier Godino
Guillermo Francella
Mariano Argento
Carla Quevedo

Juan José Campanella
Mariela Besuievsky

$2 million

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