Secret in Their Eyes

"Excellent"

Secret in Their Eyes Review


It's rare for an American remake to be scruffier than the original, but this film is an intriguingly messier take on the super-slick, hugely engaging 2009 Oscar winner from Argentina. Filmmaker Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) has stripped down the tone and revamped the plot considerably, replacing the original film's big emotional surges with grittier intrigue and subtle intelligence.

The story begins as New York security expert Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) returns to Los Angeles, picking up the trail of an unsolved murder he worked on 13 years earlier when he was an FBI agent. His former colleague Jess (Julia Roberts) is still in the FBI, while Claire (Nicole Kidman) is now the city's district attorney. Together, they secretly begin looking into the case again, tracking the suspect (Joe Cole) through the city and dodging interference from fellow agent Reg (Michael Kelly). But the investigation doesn't go as planned, jeopardising all of them in their current jobs. And Ray is having trouble sorting out his relational history with both Jess and Claire.

These three fine actors cleverly play with the delicate tensions both between them and in the larger picture. At the centre, Ejiofor is gripping as a man of conscience who is tenaciously hoping for justice in a seriously murky situation. Kidman adds a slightly cheeky tone as a woman who has achieved professional success but never forgets the dodgy choices she has made. And Roberts gets the showier role, losing all of her Hollywood glamour as the tomboyish Jess, a woman with layer after layer of emotional turmoil. The chemistry between them is fascinating, even if the filmmaking approach feels dry and aloof. But there's so much going on in both the story and characters that it's impossible to look away. Nothing that happens is quite what it seems to be, and the big ideas linger in the background, leaving plenty for us to chew on.

While it seems a bit odd to remake such a great movie, Ray at least re-vamps the plot enough to throw fans off the scent. And the grittier tone adds interest by linking the central crime to the 9/11 attacks, stirring in a potent comment on America's permanent sense of paranoia. There are also astute explorations of timely issues like police corruption and government inaction. So if all of the leaping back and forth between the two time periods gets a bit confusing, the film still holds the interest with its steady stream of surprising twists and emotional resonance. It may feel a bit dull by comparison to other action thrillers, but its textures are quietly riveting.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Secret In Their Eyes:



Secret in Their Eyes

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th November 2015

Box Office Worldwide: $17.2M

Distributed by: STX Entertainment

Production compaines: Ingenious Media, Gran Via Productions, IM Global, Route One Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 59

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Matt Jackson,

Starring: as Ray, as Claire, as Jess, as Bumpy, Lyndon Smith as Kit, as Siefert, Mark Famiglietti as Duty Sergeant Jacobs, Zoe Graham as Carolyn, as Fierro, as Ellis, as Marzin / Beckwith

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