Los Angeles, California. Tonight , Juan Jose Campanella’s “The Secret In Their Eyes” (El secreto de sus ojos) won the OSCAR for the Best Foreign Language Movie Award.
Argentina’s entry, Juan Jose Campanella’s stylish genre-bending thriller “The Secret In Their Eyes” (El secreto de sus ojos) is a non-stop, witty, entertainment. Campanella (who shot episodes of Argentina’s “Law and Order”) adapted Eduardo Sacheri’s novel “La pregunta de sus ojos“, working with Sacheri. Director-editor Campanella blends romance, psychological back-stories, crime procedurals and comedy in a fluid complex suspensor.
Retired criminal-court employee Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin) is writing a novel based on an unsolved murder-rape. He tells Judge Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil), who is wary of lending her support. Morales (Pablo Rago), husband of the murdered woman, spent years haunting the train stations watching for the murderer. Two immigrant workers were railroaded for the murder, as flashbacks to the 70’s show. The flashbacks stir the political subtext and explain Irene’s initial reluctance to help Benjamin.
“Eye’s talk” claims Benjamin, decoding the small eye movements that betray peoples’ secret. It’s a useful quality for a novelist, an investigator and a lover. Irene and Benjamin have been attracted to each other since the 80’s when she joined the department. But Benjamin is out classed, pining for the Cornell-educated beauty married to a well -connected politico. Irene’s drawn in to helping him, as they argue about the power of memory, the major topic of a country with a buried ugly past. Playing Benjamin over a twenty-year span, Darin allows the frustrations of years of working in a corrupt system leak out of every pore. Javier Godino plays the assassin working for the secret police’s death squad. Comic Guillermo Francella is memorable as Benjamin’s alcoholic buddy Pablo Sandoval. (On my 10 Best List)