Secret in their Eyes: Film Review

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I had been looking forward to seeing this cop drama because of the stellar cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts but I know many people were dubious because the 2009 Argentinian film, which this is based on, was so good. I have not seen that film so that’s probably why I feeling pretty favourable about this remake.

The movie switches between the present day and 2002, when FBI counter-terrorism agent Ray (Ejiofor) discovers the body of Carolyn Cobb, the daughter of his co-worker Jess (Roberts) – she has been raped and murdered. Although it is not his case, Ray become obsessed with finding the killer, but the killer is an informant for the counter-terrorism unit and so Ray’s seniors sabotage his efforts to find justice. Switch to thirteen years later, Ray finds a photo of the culprit that he thinks can finally convict him of the crime.

The story is incredible and so interesting. What would you do if you discovered your colleague’s child brutally murdered? Would you ever give up finding justice? It really makes you think. It had twists and turns that I was not expecting and I was gripped. I couldn’t tell if the guy Ray found actually did it, so he could have been wasting his life obsessing about it for nothing. But from what I’ve read, the 2009 original achieves this much better and this is a poorer version in comparison. I really feel like I should watch it now so I can have a more informed opinion and so I can see the truly heartbreaking version.

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This is a top billing cast but the film does not have the heightened level of tension and drama that I was expecting given the captivating story and the big names. Roberts is very good as a mother dealing with loss and her story takes a different turn to what I was predicting. I usually relate Roberts to happy romcoms so this was an interesting change. Ejiofor carries the emotional weight of the film – we truly feel his desperation about finding this guy. I did not enjoy his crush on Kidman’s assistant DA character Claire. It detracted from the story a bit. I don’t have any issues with her performance – it just doesn’t shine compared to the others.

This is a brilliant story but it doesn’t quite achieve the level of greatness it could and should have and I’m not entirely sure why that is. Ejiofor and Roberts put in stellar performances and the twist is so compelling but it never 100% grabbed me, which is slightly disappointing. I wanted to feel more emotionally invested, however, it is by no means as terrible as some reviews would suggest.

In cinemas now 

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