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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, gripping, perfect film-making
Very occasionally you see a film and can tell from the first few frames that you are witnessing a classic. A film that will enter the public consciousness, be a must-have in everyone's DVD collection and bring repeated pleasure to millions of people. 'The Secret in Their Eyes' is undoubtedly one of these select few.

The film opens with a series of jarring, yet...
Published on 15 Mar 2010 by D. G. JAMES

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slick, predictable, Hollywood-calibre romantic melodrama
Some of the best movies I've ever seen came from Argentina, but the more like American movies they become the less interesting they become. Maybe this one was made with winning an Oscar in mind, to please Hollywood audiences, and that's why it's so superficial and annoying and predictable - and popular.

The hallmark of an American movie is...
Published on 14 Sep 2012 by J. Martin


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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, gripping, perfect film-making, 15 Mar 2010
By 
D. G. JAMES "BuzzSaw123" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
Very occasionally you see a film and can tell from the first few frames that you are witnessing a classic. A film that will enter the public consciousness, be a must-have in everyone's DVD collection and bring repeated pleasure to millions of people. 'The Secret in Their Eyes' is undoubtedly one of these select few.

The film opens with a series of jarring, yet beautiful scenes, apparently unrelated. On cutting back to a writer we become aware that it is a man attempting to arrange his myriad thoughts and experiences into a piece of literature. He can't quite seem to get the story out so returns to his old place of work - a public prosecutor's office - to go over the past and jolt his imagination into play. From there the story is told half in flashback and half as a visual representation of his writing - a beautifully complex but magically simple device that is pulled off perfectly.

As the plot thickens we are treated to layer upon layer of mystery, intrigue and emotion, delivered with punch, verve and humour. The characters are vivid and realistic, the pace is lively but graceful and every step the plot takes is a joy to behold. By the end I don't think there was a dry eye or non-smiling face in the house.

Absolutely brilliant film-making. I implore you to see it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strikingly beautiful and powerful film, 8 Jan 2012
By 
Little Cat Voom (The middle of England) - See all my reviews
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There are so many elements that make this an absolute joy - not the least of which was that I had no real expectations (despite the Oscar win - I don`t automatically trust that as a recommendation). Almost immediately I felt an attachment and a genuine interest with the main characters, and the storyline. (This is partly due to Soledad Villamil`s smile, which could be just about the greatest thing I`ve ever seen). It would be difficult to say that the storyline is particularly unique, but it is presented in such a way that I did feel deeply invested in how the various plots and subplots would be resolved. Essentially the story of who brutally murdered a young wife, but also including many strands of both the professional and personal lives of the main protagonists...each one is more than satisfying, and the culmination of these threads is extremely well done and immensely pleasing.

I loved the performances of the leads, Soledad Villamil as Irene Hastings and Ricardo Darin as Benjamin Esposito, and their interaction; also the dialogue, which I found very funny at times (particularly that of Pablo Sandoval, Esposito`s assistant played by Guillermo Francella, who is better known as a comedy actor and some of this shines brilliantly through at times); the dialogue is also harrowingly honest and soul-bearing too, especially that involving Morales, the grieving husband (movingly played by Pablo Rago). I will endeavour to find more films that these actors are cast in. Perhaps deliberately on the part of the director, I felt you could follow the film - so well is it acted - by following the action alone (although of course the subtitles help with details!). Many truths are indeed revealed by glances, expressions, looks.

I can`t think of a bad thing to write, and if realistically acted, intelligent, high-class foreign thrillers are your thing, you won`t want to miss this. I can`t watch the end without the odd tear, and that isn`t my usual reaction to anything! It`s so beautiful at times, but also quite shocking; I can`t recommend it highly enough.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "How do you live a life full of nothing? ", 5 Sep 2010
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
Like many or most of the best films, The Secret In Their Eyes by director Juan José Campanella combines elements from more than one genre. In this case it's all of an exciting thriller with a final kick like a mule, a love story, a parable about loyalty to your friends and duty to those you serve, an examination of the nature of revenge and a reflection on the bitter nature of memory that's pregnant with regret for things imperfectly done and undone.

As if these big themes are not enough, the whole is dipped in the sour broth of the Dirty War of the 1970s when successive military regimes in effect declared war on the citizens of Argentina; people were kidnapped from streets when they went out to buy a paper or snatched from their beds in the middle of the night.

The film is primarily set in flashback in 1974 Buenos Aires as Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darín), a criminal legal investigator, is assigned to the rape and murder of a young teacher. 25 years later, Esposito is still haunted by the case and is trying to write a novel about it. He does his best for the distraught widower Morales (the hangdog but intense Pablo Rago) but is unable to surmount the political stumbling-blocks that prevent the judiciary from conducting its business ethically.

Campanella succeeds beautifully in marrying this crime and its political background with the personal intensity of Esposito's relationship both with his boss Irene Menéndez Hastings (Soledad Villamil) and also his close friend and boozy colleague Sandoval (Guillermo Francella). We see how every aspect of life is corrupted and brutalised in a country where justice is suborned. Morales (a very common Spanish surname, and by which name alone Esposito always addresses him) stands for Everyman in his bewilderment as events shake and render him anaesthetised to normal human emotions.

The script crackles with laddish office humour and ironic asides that provide relief from the deadly events of the film but never dilute their effect. The story is filmed with visual and metaphorical brio, notably in a marvellous night sequence on location at a huge football ground. Dizzying, swirling helicopter shots of the bright stadium set outside the shrouded city give way to the floodlit confusion of the terraces crammed with fans as the investigators search frantically for their man as he hurtles successively from light to dark and back again.

Once or twice sentimentality threatens to intrude, perhaps most especially in the very last scene of all, but this is nit-picking judged against all the positives, not least a fine, subtle performance from Ricardo Darin, playing a good man flawed by weaknesses that sap his will to persist, almost to the point of bringing him down.

This is an adult picture, treating its audience seriously and raising uncomfortable questions, up there with films like Cache, The Battle of Algiers and even in a quite different way with Hitchcock's Notorious. A must for anyone with a serious interest in cinema.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Reccomended, 1 Sep 2010
By 
This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
This is a rare film as it is one that I would recommend to all my friends despite their varying cinematic tastes. It has something for nearly everyone without every seeming contrived. There is violence, love, humour, politics and mystery along with great acting, a sharp script and highly accomplished cinematography.
The film starts slowly but soon becomes gripping. Though I have a few minor gripes with the believability of the story I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and was particularly impressed with the dialogue and the acting. Pablo Rago's scenes in particular stood out for me and I have to admit to shedding a tear more than once.
Intelligent without being convoluted, intricate but not overly complicated I highly recommend to anyone with a love of film.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Suspense, 5 Nov 2011
By 
Mitun (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
'The Secret in Their Eyes (Spanish: El secreto de sus ojos)' is a an Argentine mystery crime-thriller/love story film that released in 2009 to widespread international critical acclaim and box-office success. The feature is based on Eduardo Sacheri's novel 'La Pregunta de Sus Ojos (The Question in Their Eyes)'. The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards and the Best Spanish Language Foreign Film at the 2009 Goya Awards (Spanish National Film Awards). The movie has become the all time second highest-grossing feature of Argentine cinema.

I watched the movie after it was recommended by a movie-buff friend and also due to it receiving an Oscar. So, so happy that I watched it, pure and simple excellence. The full movie was one helluva riveting experience with heightened intensity. I love mystery-crime features and this offering is one of the BEST I've seen.

The movie centres around a retired legal counselor, Benjamin Espósito (Ricardo Darín) who attempts to write a novel on one of his unresolved rape/murder cases, which occurred twenty-five years ago. He does this as he's haunted by both the case and his unfulfilled love for his ex-superior, Irene Menéndez-Hastings (Soledad Villamil).

Right, where do I start with this movie, it contains the perfect dosage of mystery, suspense, tension, drama, a love story, funny moments and emotions. Everything is combined to give you a true CLASSIC. I loved the crime aspect, which was really interesting and gritty. What works with excellent results, is the touching emotions which is brought to the screen by the lead actors. The ending is a cracker with one of the greatest twists that provides 100% satisfaction to the viewer.

Ricardo Darín as the lead actor is the show-stealer with a career-best emotional performance. Soledad Villamil as Darín's love interest is elegant and matches him all the way. She really shines in the latter stages. My favourite actor in the movie is Guillermo Francella who enacts the role of Darín's alcoholic friend/colleague, Pablo Sandoval. He is responsible for the comedy, which is performed in the most natural way making you laugh. He is also involved in one of the effective pivotal moments in the feature, his performance in that scene leaves a lasting effect. The touching emotional ties shared between the characters of Darín, Villamil and Francella is the highlight of the film and can be felt by the audience. Javier Godino as Isidoro Gómez is creepy in a competent manner. Pablo Rago (Ricardo Morales) who plays the widowed husband of the murdered victim manages to make a mark amongst the rest of the actors.

Juan José Campanella directs the feature with conviction, causing it to become a masterpiece. He also defines each character skillfully giving the story an important edge. My only minor complaint is the duration of the movie, which is a bit long at just over two hours. Trimming it would've made the pace of the film less slow.

The cinematography by Félix Monti is fine, adding realism and a final shine to each scene.

On watching the movie, it felt like a rollercoaster of an emotional ride. There were mixed emotions ranging from being shocked, happy, sad to satisfied. During every now and then you also end up laughing as a result of the funny moments, which surprisingly fits in well. Further to this, the ending leaves a lingering effect long after the end credits have rolled. EMOTIONALLY DRAINED, yep that was me.

When watching this gem, which you definitely will, please pay attention to the eyes of the lead actors, they each have a secret story to tell, literally.

'The Secret in Their Eyes' is cinematic suspense at its finest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Emotionally-Charged Argentinean Murder/Mystery/Love Drama, 16 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
This film was a worthy winner of the 2010 Best Foreign Film Oscar (as it originates from Argentina) and whilst I didn't watch it on commercial disc, but via an HD satellite transmission, I would imagine the viewing experience would be just as good.

First, do note this DVD appears twice at WILDLY different prices so ensure you search properly on Amazon or go direct to the other (in existence at the time of this review) via the following Amazon product link :

The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD]

The overall ingredients of mystery, murder, revenge and (above all else) smouldering love between a man and a woman are something of a mis-match, but beautifully combined to present an intense, yet utterly engrossing story.

If you enjoyed, as I did, the wonderful film 'The English Patient' you should like this just as much as those ingredients are essentially the same, although the plot lines and period bear no similarity whatsoever, and this film somehow manages to sprinkle in occasional moments of comedy and has English subtitles ! One other noticeable difference is that the emotions in this film are portrayed quite superbly through almost expressionless, yet powerfully involved, facial looks between those involved rather than sexual relations, and that the settings are more 'gritty' with nothing approaching the majestic sweeping panoramic landscape shots which appear in 'The English Patient' (although there is one terrific high-level sweeping panoramic of an active football stadium at night which slowly descends to pitch-level).

That aforementioned plot is quite simple, best described elsewhere and copied here (the Amazon synopsis does not properly describe it) : 'A retired legal counsellor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later'.

Things play out with a heavy reliance on lengthy flashbacks which occasionally can be tricky to spot - you have to concentrate not only on the subtitles (the dialogue rarely races along so that task is not too difficult) but also, perhaps, the presence/absence of facial wrinkles or greying hair to often be certain which time 'period' you're watching ! What you always get though are an uncomplicated yet captivating story supported with fantastic, and utterly believable, lead performances and a sporadic, unobtrusive but beautifully lyrical piano-based orchestral musical soundtrack. I also think that the compelling nature of the film is helped by most of us not previously having seen any of the acting cast, unless you are already an Argentinean film aficionado of course !

One thing that slightly baffles me is the viewing certificate is '18'. Whilst there is some explicit violence/nudity it is brief, but too explicit/long apparently for the BBFC who (I checked !) state that the 'exposure' exceeds that permitted in a '15' rated films; personal feelings of course, so what I consider to be 'palatable' (as opposed to acceptable) may not be for others, and certainly the BBFC adjudicators...

So, if you enjoy dramatic and well acted films which rely more on plot and character emotions, rather than action and explosions, this film is for you. Buy the disc, set aside just over 2 hours and prepare yourself for a truly wonderful cinematic experience - and one which will undoubtedly become one of my most favourite of all time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding original film, 16 Nov 2012
By 
Mr. I. Beaven "Filmfan" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Outstanding film , full of twists and turns while the scene in the lift is pulsating.Superb mature acting and well worth the awards.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Emotionally-Charged Argentinean Murder/Mystery/Love Drama, 1 Jan 2012
This film was a worthy winner of the 2010 Best Foreign Film Oscar (as it originates from Argentina) and whilst I didn't watch it on commercial disc, but via an HD satellite transmission, I would imagine the viewing experience would be just as good.

The overall ingredients of mystery, murder, revenge and (above all else) smouldering love between a man and a woman are something of a mis-match, but beautifully combined to present an intense, yet utterly engrossing story.

If you enjoyed, as I did, the wonderful film 'The English Patient' you should like this just as much as those ingredients are essentially the same, although the plot lines and period bear no similarity whatsoever, and this film somehow manages to sprinkle in occasional moments of comedy and has English subtitles ! One other noticeable difference is that the emotions in this film are portrayed quite superbly through almost expressionless, yet powerfully involved, facial looks between those involved rather than sexual relations, and that the settings are more 'gritty' with nothing approaching the majestic sweeping panoramic landscape shots which appear in 'The English Patient' (although there is one terrific high-level sweeping panoramic of an active football stadium at night which slowly descends to pitch-level).

That aforementioned plot is quite simple, best described elsewhere and copied here (the Amazon synopsis does not properly describe it) : 'A retired legal counsellor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later'.

Things play out with a heavy reliance on lengthy flashbacks which occasionally can be tricky to spot - you have to concentrate not only on the subtitles (the dialogue rarely races along so that task is not too difficult) but also, perhaps, the presence/absence of facial wrinkles or greying hair to often be certain which time 'period' you're watching ! What you always get though are an uncomplicated yet captivating story supported with fantastic, and utterly believable, lead performances and a sporadic, unobtrusive but beautifully lyrical piano-based orchestral musical soundtrack. I also think that the compelling nature of the film is helped by most of us not previously having seen any of the acting cast, unless you are already an Argentinean film aficionado of course !

One thing that slightly baffles me is the viewing certificate is '18'. Whilst there is some explicit violence/nudity it is brief, but too explicit/long apparently for the BBFC who (I checked !) state that the 'exposure' exceeds that permitted in a '15' rated films; personal feelings of course, so what I consider to be 'palatable' (as opposed to acceptable) may not be for others, and certainly the BBFC adjudicators...

So, if you enjoy dramatic and well acted films which rely more on plot and character emotions, rather than action and explosions, this film is for you. Buy the disc, set aside just over 2 hours and prepare yourself for a truly wonderful cinematic experience - and one which will undoubtedly become one of my most favourite of all time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do?, 21 Sep 2011
By 
Graham Mccarthy "gmccarthy15" (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
The Secret in Their Eyes is a real gem of a film and justifiably won the Oscar for best foreign language film of the year in 2010. The strength of this film is in the storyline, the way each piece of the jigsaw is subtly put in place so that there are no holes left at the end is quite beautiful. You may need to watch it a second time to pick up all of the cues because unlike most Hollywood films it Juan Jose Campanella assumes that his audience is intelligent and so doesn't feel the need to hit you over the head with repeated plot lines or take time to re-cap for those that are too slow witted to keep up.

The acting is excellent, dramatic, comedic and superbly underplayed. Those reviewers that bemoan the lack of Hollywood production standards I feel are missing the point somewhat. A stage play isn't as slick as a multi-million dollar Hollywood film but is no less valid. This film's beauty is in the acting, the story and actually the production is really quite slick, probably akin to Hollywood in the 90's.

The end to the film is as stunning as it is haunting. I really didn't see it coming although all the clues were there. Hollywood could/would never conclude a film like this. All the strands are pulled together but in such a surprising and chilling way. I rate this film very highly. When weaving together different genres it can be difficult to keep focussed but this film achieves it brilliantly, mixing unrequited love, detective and comedy is a bewitching brew.

I give this film five stars; I couldn't think of any improvements that would make it better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many A Twist, 11 Jun 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret In Their Eyes [DVD] [2009] (Spanish soundtrack with English subtitles) (DVD)
This is an excellent policier (with a fine dash of love story and a bit of philosophy) set in Argentina. There is a good standard mystery here with lots of clues giving you a fair chance to get there first. Additionally, the characters have a rich hinterland rather than being two dimensional, even the villain has more to him than meets the eye. Not wishing to give away the twists I can only say that the minor character of Sandoval is better played than many a major character in another film, and that the acting in the scene in the lift with the gun is excellent. One for the late age romantics perhaps but satisfying at every level.

In Spanish, but with excellent subtitles.
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