I was certain that the possibility of any foreign film of 2009 trouncing Pedro Almovodar’s Broken Embraces was out of the question. When the film earned zero recognition this award season, my Almovodar loyalty inspired inevitable contempt towards every film that scored in the category. Including this year’s winner: The Secret In Their Eyes, written and directed by Juan Jose Campanella, representing Argentina. Entering this screening with complete confidence that the Academy must’ve muddled their votes, I left feeling like the fool of the century. This film earned its little gold statue, ladies and gentlemen. Impressive is an understatement.
Check out the review below…
- Writer/Director: Juan Jose Campanella
- Producers: Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuievsky
- Cast: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
A recently retired criminal court investigator, Esposito (Darin), decides to write a novel based on a 25-year-old, unresolved rape/murder case. He shares his plans with Irene (Villamil), a judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with since their introduction years ago. In the course of writing his novel, Esposito re-visits the long forgotten case and his hidden feelings for Irene.
- Plot: The joining of genres is a risky endeavor, so hats off. We’ve got a fully developed, easily captivating love story juxtaposed with a hauntingly brutal crime story. It’s rare to find both plot lines well correlated and equally engaging. Campanella succeeds with flying colors.
- Themes: The obvious ones include loyalty, love, and the oftentimes questionable reality of the contemporary judicial system. But perhaps the most thought provoking theme is the agony of unresolved conflict. Whether it lies between lovers or a legal team working on a case, the ghosts of our past decisions can quite possibly creep in and out of our lives interminably.
- Writing: Don’t be fooled by the seemingly trite synopsis! This film has edge, and a total unexpected humor. Campanella is presenting heavy, conceivably complex material to his audience, but we’re laughing from start to finish. The characters are so complete, and the dialogue is so rich – you easily feel sucked out of your seat and tossed into Campanella’s journey.
- I will happily report ZERO negative attributes of this film.
It’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely blown away by a film.
The film has a limited release April 15!