"The Secret in Their Eyes"
Published on Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 1:06pm
This film was the winner of numerous international awards, including nine Clarín Entertainment Awards (Argentina) and the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
1999. Recently-retired Argentinean federal justice agent Benjamín Espósito decides to write a book about a cold case that occurred 25 years earlier. The brutal rape and murder of Liliana Coloto, her husband Ricardo Morales’s reaction, and the unresolved question of whether or not the crime was perpetrated by a childhood friend of the murder victim named Isidoro Gómez have haunted Benjamín for years.
But this movie is so much more than a murder mystery. Moving seamlessly between the present and the past, this movie is about three men and their unwillingness to let go of their lifelong obsessions. Obsessed by Liliana, a girl from the neighborhood, Isidoro can’t seem to move on until he has possessed her. Deeply in love with his new bride, Ricardo’s life seems to stop after she is brutally taken from him; he will doggedly search for the killer until he has gotten justice for Liliana. And Benjamin’s obsession with this case will ultimately lead the viewer through a series of events that will impact all of them.
Some subtleties of the movie that I particularly enjoyed were colloquialisms the characters employed when engaged in informal conversation. While the constant cursing in either formal or informal settings might seem shocking to some viewers, it is a genuine part of everyday exchanges in Argentina, and I found them very realistic and endearing. The effects of the dictatorship on the characters were sensitively handled in a realistic manner without detracting from the plot. And, of course, I just loved that entire sequence about the passions of men that is introduced in their local bar, continues with a fantastic aerial entrance into the football (yes, football, not soccer down there) stadium, and culminates with a search for Isidoro Gómez during the match by Benjamín and his colleague Pablo Sandoval.