La Pregunta de Sus Jos (translating to The Question in Their Eyes) is a 2005 thriller novel, written by Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri. Secret in Their Eyes was a film that I had high hopes for, and maybe that’s why I was so disappointed with the American remake. Chasing Cinema would like to thank everyone that has taken their time to visit our website.
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This commences an absorbing back and forth journey through time, between Buenos Aires in 1974 and 2000, which reopens both the crime and the unacknowledged feeling that has remained all these years between Irene and Benjamin. This pull between the “ends” and the “means” offers some food for thought in this case of situational ethics --if you are willing to overlook the screenplay’s violent portrayals. After the daughter of an FBI's agent (Julia Roberts) is murdered, her partner (Chiwetel Ejiofor) swears to catch the killer.
The Secret in Their Eyes is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references.
Thirteen years ago Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Jess (Julia Roberts) and Claire (Nicole Kidman) went through a life-changing experience that bonded them together, while at the same time, tore them apart. Although they work in different capacities today, in 2002 the trio was part of a special task force monitoring possible terrorist activity in the LA area. While the split storyline is occasionally confusing, this artistic approach actually works well in driving the plot and engaging our curiosity. What at first appears to be a straightforward quest to capture a criminal turns instead into a complex case of situational ethics.
This pull between the “ends” and the “means” offers some food for thought if you are willing to overlook the screenplay’s violent portrayals, foul language and theme which preys upon a mother’s worst fears. Prosecuting the perpetrator of a sexual assault should be a straightforward legal procedure. Do you think the guilty man depicted here realized that his privileged situation would allow him to get away with committing the crime before he acted, or do you think he just took advantage of his special immunity after the fact? A tight-knit team of rising FBI investigators - Ray and Jess, along with their District Attorney supervisor Claire - is suddenly torn apart when they discover that Jess’s teenage daughter has been brutally and inexplicably murdered. Family movie reviews, movie ratings, fun film party ideas and pop culture news — all with parents in mind. All text and audiovisual content, unless otherwise attributed is © One Voice Communications LTD. Everyone loves a good mystery and the title promises a lot of it but, in the end, the only mystery of Secret in Their Eyes is how a premise so promising and a cast so talented could wind up with what amounts to as much intrigue as a filler episode of CSI. The film is a remake of the Argentinean 2009 film El Secreto de Sus Ojos, winner of the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar. In the first flashback of many, Ray and Jess are together at their office a little over a decade before–Roberts’ signature smile appears on screen, indicating that everything is right with the world. The team is called out to do an investigation on a crime scene where a young girl has been thrown into a dumpster after she had been raped and murdered.
In a later scene when Kidman is confronting Carolyn’s killer, she gives a performance that is similar to Roberts’ in that her talent is contrasted against the emptiness of the role.
In a film full of secrets, everyone’s motives are, at some point, confessed, but they are hardly believable.
Ejiofor, like Roberts and Kidman, exhibits his skillful ability to portray the character of Ray, though there really is not much to his character.
The film has all of the looks and talent to be a hit but it lacks the heart necessary to make it stand out against the crowd. It is hard to truly go wrong with such a talented and expert cast but it is, at some points, downright painful to watch such talent go to waste. And, in certain countries, there is the look that you never see at all — and that never stops staring at you for a moment. TV recaps, movie and music reviews, local dining guides, and the latest in Atlantic City entertainment news delivered to your inbox! Four years following the book’s release, Argentinian filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella adapted it into a film called The Secret in Their Eyes.
However, the three are ripped apart after they discover that Jess’s teenage daughter was brutally murdered and left in a dumpster near the mosque. Academy Award winners Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman teaming with Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor should be a recipe for a masterpiece.
Ray’s latest picture makes one of the biggest offenses in my book; it doesn’t mean anything. You will receive a weekly newsletter full of movie-related tidbits, articles, trailers, even the occasional streamable movie.
But their supportive boss (Nichole Kidman) soon runs into office politics which make the rape case much more complicated than at first imagined. As a viewer, we are not sure at first what the traumatic event was, but a picture begins to emerge as the script gives us pieces of the story from both past and present timelines. One day they received word that a female body had been found in the dumpster next door to the mosque they have under surveillance.
We know that in 2015 Ray wants permission from Claire, who is now the District Attorney, to reopen the unsolved case. The definition of justice is caught in a tug-of-war between how best to serve the greatest good and how much to punish the guilty one. For the analytical type, perhaps the most sobering insight will be the cost of keeping secrets – something each of the key players seems to personally pay regardless of whether or not their motives are selfish or noble.

Does the amount of premeditation involved in this case influence your feelings about the amount of punishment he should receive?
How do these private feelings of guilt, anger or regret influence their behavior over the years? Now, thirteen years later, after obsessively searching every day for the elusive killer, Ray finally uncovers a new lead that he’s certain can permanently resolve the case, nail the vicious murderer, and bring long-desired closure to his team. One that’s twice as long and even more unsatisfying to boot. It’s no secret that the film has an all-star cast with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman.
The original story is revisited by director Billy Ray, writer of the screenplay for Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games. Ray and Jess poke fun of their coworker Reg, played by Michael Kelly (Netflix’s House of Cards), who has all of the disdain and lack of charisma to be the villain and who also happens to be a generally unpleasant stick-in-the-mud.
Jess makes some jokes while they pull up their gloves and Ray walks cheerfully over to the dumpster when he identifies the body. The romance between Ray and Claire is one of the secrets the title guarantees and it is often referenced by Jess in flashbacks; eventually he confirms there is truth to it. Ray is like any other leading man, resourceful, determined, and clever but he is little more than that. It is hard to leave the theater without wanting more, not necessarily more from the story, which seems to drag on for hours, but more from the characters.
The characters which Roberts, Kidman, and Ejiofor portray do not require the skill they bring to it but that did not keep them from giving it their all. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of New Jersey On-Line LLC. The movie earned critical acclaim receiving multiple awards in both Spain and Hollywood, including an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards. Thirteen years later, after Ray left the Bureau, he returns to LA after finding a new lead that feels can finally close the case on the murder. Instead, I was just left wondering how this incredibly talented team found themselves in such a generic picture.
I failed to find any real message or purpose but found nothing other than the idea of remaking something that did fairly well at the Academy Awards. It’s not really their job to get involved in a local homicide, however Ray and Jess’s decide to look in on the police investigation just incase there is a link between the murder and the other suspicious activities they are watching in the neighborhood. We aren’t sure how the person of interest (Joe Cole) he singled out shortly after the crime was committed managed to escape, yet we know he did because Ray has spent the intervening years obsessively been trying to track down the alleged perpetrator.
You can expect verbal details about the sexual assault, along with images of a girl screaming while being punched, and eventually the heart-wrenching discovery of the corpse. As well, it brings into question whose values should be used when determining what is right versus what is best. Or would you feel like you needed to play by the rules – even if they are unfair—like other characters do?
Might things have worked out differently if they had confessed these thought or concerns earlier? No one is prepared, however, for the shocking, unspeakable secret that will reveal the enduring, destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul. The movie could be tedious, cliche, and unsubstantial and those three could knock it out of the park—also, it should be said that it was and they did.
That’s when Ray meets Claire who, at the time, is a rising star in the investigative department. Ray is shocked when he identifies the body and he tells Jess that it’s her daughter Carolyn (Zoe Graham). She has a composed, shrewd intensity in her confrontation of the killer that is nothing if not memorable. There is no indication that they are truly in love besides their own declarations of passion. In fact, his character is like any protagonist you might find in a crime scene investigation TV show while channel surfing. It’s no secret that they give every performance everything they’ve got, even if the film doesn’t deserve it and this one definitely does not. Now, only six years after the successful film’s release, comes the American remake, Secret in Their Eyes, from writer-director Billy Ray. Grown-up, tallish, healthy, brunette, sane and perhaps she was cast for her eyes, because the film contains a lot of closeups, and they're required to conceal secrets. The answers to these questions slowly unfold as parallel manhunts are presented: the first one where the suspect mysteriously gets away, and the second effort where the friends loyally regroup to try again to capture their man.
Crude references to body parts, masturbation, glamorization of violence against women and soft pornographic images also come out in the search for evidence. Do you feel that he, or any defendant, should be able to use their unique circumstances to shield themselves from facing the usual consequences for breaking the law? She is still just as professional and just as collected as she is depicted in the beginning of the film but she has a youthful vibrancy that her older self lacks. In this scene, Roberts is given the opportunity to show off her chops as an actor by clutching her dead daughter in her arms and screaming wildly with tears running down her face. There is a smooth transition from her by-the-book attitude to one that is cold, calculating, and manipulative. On that note, passion is mentioned many times over the course of the film yet the main emotion being portrayed is confusing sense of obsession. Nearly every scene, more or less, is like this scene in that each actor whether it’s Roberts, Ejiofor, or Kidman give skilled and intense performances which are contrasted by the one-dimensional, unsubstantial characters they are portraying.
Ejiofor was good but gives us nothing too memorable as his character is stuck in a boring love angle with Kidman. There is a sequence that takes place in a stadium that holds some excitement, but it’s miniature compared to the many dull and prolonged intimate conversations between Kidman and Ejiofor. Twenty-five years ago, when she was assistant to a judge and he was an investigator under her, they were involved in a brutal case of rape and murder.

The victim that has been brutally raped and beaten to death is Jess’s eighteen-year-old daughter (Zoe Graham).
So does the unsanctioned use of police and political authority, various fistfights, weapons use, shootouts and deaths.
Left with few choices, Ray, Jess and Claire grapple with accepting defeat or taking the law into their own hands. He meets with his old supervisor, Claire (Kidman) who Ray greets with a fond look in his eye that is an early indication of past romance.
If we didn’t already see where the story was headed in the romantic department, there is a clear shot of Claire’s wedding ring which is obvious foreshadowing of a forbidden romance which is alluded to but it never actually comes to fruition. Of course, we are all well aware of her talents and ability and there is not much to criticize her for. Any time she is on screen, she does not disappoint and this scene is no different but, again, this scene, or any other in the film, does not warrant such skill that she brings to the table and the conclusion to the scene vastly contrasts her skillful performance by being downright absurd and almost laughable. Ray rarely shows any feelings toward Claire other than an unexplained fixation, even claiming that she was the reason his marriage failed. He is fully believable as the remorseful friend, full of regret who is also infatuated with a woman he can’t have. They are all more than qualified for their roles—too qualified, in fact, almost to a point where they seemed trapped within the limits of their own stilted dialogue and undeveloped characters. Then the movie comes to the climax and the “twist.” This was the part of the movie I hoped to sit up in my seat and have my mind blown, but like that emotional, intriguing moment, that didn’t happen either. Benjamin visited the crime scene, and the dead woman's corpse spoke eloquently of the crime's brutality. Playing Irene at ages 25 years apart, she is never too young or too old, but standing right there.Ricardo Darin makes her worthy partner as Benjamin.
And ironically, even the second attempt to see justice done results in the same types of issues. Then we meet Jess (Roberts), who is strung out and weary—starkly contrasted against Claire’s professional, well-kept exterior. This is one of many examples that appear throughout the movie takes the route of telling rather than showing. The scene, however, barely warrants such skillful intensity considering that we’ve just been introduced to her character and Carolyn has not yet been given even a second of screen time before we see her body.
Throughout the film, she consistently demonstrates a sort of reliability exhibited by only the very best actors yet she is still stuck within the confines of ridiculous dialogue and a confusing character arc. Ray searched for thirteen years for Jess’s daughter’s murderer but the first person he seeks out is Claire for reasons we can only speculate. He is a strong and confident actor who brought everything he had to the part but it is difficult to appreciate such skill when it is being used to portray an unsubstantial character. The characters are not given a chance to breathe but, instead, their character arcs are forced along a very clear, neat path until it results in an inevitably underwhelming outcome. Then, as the credits began to roll, I quickly realized how much of the film I had already forgotten. His rank was too low, his pay too small, her presence too assured for him to trust the signals he must have known she was sending. He’s found the killer of Jess’s daughter and he wants to reopen the case and finally bring the wrongful party to justice.
We understand that there is to be a romance between Roy and Claire but it comes out of nowhere with no reason behind it making it feel lifeless and unnecessary.
The moment she realizes it’s her daughter that has been tragically murdered, her reaction is soul-crushing. The audience is rarely allowed to even see much of her and her daughter together but it we are well aware of how much she loved her due to her constant verbal reminders. Therein lies the common mistake of telling instead of showing which creates a barrier between the audience and Jess. The rest of Secret in Their Eyes just passes the audience by, leaving us waiting for another moment that will emotionally intrigue us—unfortunately, that moment never comes. He has never stopped thinking about the murder case, and we understand -- although the movie is indirect about this -- that the investigation was mishandled at the time because of Argentina's diseased right-wing politics.Without being too obvious about it, the film reassembles the strands of two stories, the murder case and the unfinished emotions between Benjamin and Irene. Sandoval (Guillermo Francella) is Benjamin's alcoholic assistant in the investigation, one of those drunks who may be incompetent but is not useless.
He and Benjamin, and all the legal-side workers, engage in the droll formality of addressing one another by fanciful titles. Gomez (Javier Godino) has always been Benjamin's real suspect, and there is a scene involving him in a soccer stadium that I have no idea how it could have been filmed, special effects or not.Juan Jose Campanella is the writer-director, and here is a man who creates a complete, engrossing, lovingly crafted film. We grow to know the characters, and the story pays due respect to their complexities and needs. There is always the sense that they exist in the now and not at some point along a predetermined continuum. Sometimes I watch a film unspool like a tape measure, and I can sense how far we are from the end. Sometimes my imagination is led to live right along with it."The Secret in Their Eyes" surprised many by winning the 2010 Academy Award for best foreign-language film. Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon," another considerable film, was thought to be the front-runner. The academy did a good thing when it reformed the foreign-language film voting, requiring all voters to see all five finalists. In 2009, with the Japanese winner "Departures," and again in 2010, the voters had an advantage over the rest of us. They voted as they felt, and in today's unhappy distribution scene, the Oscar means your chances of seeing this film are much increased.

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