• James Rutherford

'The Secret in Their Eyes': An Intelligent and Absorbing Spanish-Language Mystery from Argentina


Movie poster for the Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes starring Ricardo Darín

"The Secret in Their Eyes" ("El Secreto de Sus Ojos") (2009) is a deeply absorbing Argentinian mystery starring Ricardo Darín as Benjamín Esposito, an emissary of the courts investigating a brutal rape and murder. Set in Buenos Aires in 1974, the film follows Esposito and his partner Pablo Sandóval (Guillermo Francella) as they hunt the killer of an unassuming local woman named Liliana Colotto (Carla Quevedo).


Spurred on by the impassioned pleas of Colotto's grieving widower Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), Esposito and Sandóval delve into a sordid tale of suspense that engulfs them in the pursuit of lead suspect Isidoro Gómez (Javier Godino). As the storyline progresses, we jump to-and-fro between the murder investigation and the year 2000, when an aging Esposito visits upon Judge Irene Menéndez Hastings (Soledad Villamil) who delivered key assistance in the Colotto case. As long-simmering passions between the two slowly ignite, Esposito reveals to Hastings his intension to write a book about the case—one that has gone unsolved for 26 years.


Co-written and directed by Argentinian filmmaker Juan José Campanella ("Son of th Bride", "The Man of Your Dreams") in adaptation of the novel by Eduardo Sacheri, "The Secret in Their Eyes" is a deeply felt and profoundly enthralling tale of intrigue. Darín is utterly superb in a role that swings from dark intensity to spirited wistfulness in equal measure—a role he inhabits with deft charisma. Ultimately, the film serves as an ardent depiction of both nobility and compromise at a pivotal moment in history—an ominous prelude to the military dictatorship that would soon enshroud Argentina for years to come.

 

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