"The Secret in Their Eyes" is both a fascinating murder mystery and a powerful love story. It truly deserves the Best Foreign Film Oscar it received.
Writer-director Juan Jose Campanella has made a rich, elegant and truly engrossing movie about a retired investigator who's still obsessed with a brutal murder case he worked on 25 years earlier and the unrequited love he felt for a colleague during that time.
Ricardo Darin stars as Esposito, a retired investigator trying to come to terms with his life by writing a novel about the brutal rape and murder of a young woman a quarter of a century ago.
Soledad Villamil is Irene, now a judge, then a judge's assistant, who helped him on the still unsolved case.
Esposito goes to see Irene to get her thoughts on the case and her opinion on his idea of writing a novel. He's also still has strong feelings for her.
He originally came up with the main suspect by looking at a group photo in which the suspect and the victim both appeared.
"I always thought the photo thing was crazy, Irene tells him. But Esposito knows the significance of the look in a person's eyes. "You see this kid looking at this woman, worshipping her, Esposito reminds her. "The eyes speak. It's the look in their eyes that's the key."
The film shifts back and forth between the present and the past, stirring up memories and revelations tinged with regret.
I've been side-tracked for over 20 years, Esposito says to Irene. "I was in a bar the other night, and I saw myself having dinner alone, and I didn't like myself."
The thriller side of this film is every bit as well done as its story of unrequited love including one amazing shot that starts high above a soccer stadium and zooms down to a chase scene.
The parallels between the mystery and the romance are carefully drawn.Director Campanella is a master of his medium. The cinematography is rich; the sounds are intimate; the editing is inspired, and the music is moving.
"The Secret in Their Eyes" is so satisfying, I'd like to see it again.