The secret in their eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) (2009)

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The Secret in their Eyes
Director: Juan Jose Campanella
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
Awards: Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010

It’s 1999 and retired Argentine federal justice agent, Benjamín Espósito, is writing a novel about the brutal rape and murder of a young married woman, based on a closed case from 1974. His research leads him back into time, forcing him to revisit old friendships, enmities and unrequited love. 

Set against the backdrop of a turbulent time in Argentina’s history, the film explores multiple themes including institutionalised corruption, the flawed humanity of those responsible for administrating justice and the essence of justice itself.

Director, Campanella, does well to avoid a descent into dry social commentary. The plot twists and turns through present and past in such gripping fashion, that even the most hardcore thriller lovers will be on the edge of their seats. Excellent cinematography and great acting by the leads and supporting cast alike lend credibility and fluidity to the flashback narrative that in lesser hands could easily have landed up as a disjointed mess.

The Secret in their Eyes is a complex and layered film that blends tragedy, love, violence and humour into a cinematic masterpiece that has been hailed by critics and the public alike. A well deserved winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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