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Review - Secret in their Eyes

By midlandsmovies, Feb 24 2016 07:30PM

Secret in their Eyes (2016) Dir. Billy Ray

Apparently a remake of the 2009 Foreign Language Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes, which I haven’t seen, I came into this movie with the draw of an interesting cast mix and my love for a good ol’ police procedural. So I opened the case file and analysed the evidence within this new 2016 release.

The film mixes the past and the present and are introduced via a reunion with Ray Karsten (12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor) and DA Claire Sloan (Nicole Kidman) before quickly flashbacking to a case from their past. 13 years ago, Ray uncovered the murder of a young girl in a dumpster that we find out to be the offspring of his close colleague Jess Cobb (Julia Roberts).

Promising justice in his journey to apprehend the perpetrator we follow Ray back and forth in the story after a decade-long hunt for the killer. Suspects are hunted, chased but mainly stared at in photos – one of the film’s flaws – and with the tension kept to a minimum, the story’s snail pace keeps the audience informed but is a little wearisome.

A suspect interrogation scene hints at some interesting dialogue alongside a cleverly conflicted drama playing out between lawbreakers and lawmakers. Attempts to prosecute fade away amongst shifty circumstances despite Alfred Molina’s Martin Morales (chewing up and spitting out a feeble American accent) promising to put those responsible on trial but unable to due to a lack of evidence.

Julia Roberts appears in the later sequences as a haunted and gaunt mother coping with loss which elicits further passions for Ejiofor’s Ray who is fixated on getting his man – much to the detriment of his career and better judgment.

So, despite an impressive cast, Secret in their Eyes is a tiresome affair overall. There’s no flair or style within the film which for me is essential to remove the audience from the rather dull tropes of the genre such as people in rooms thinking over paperwork and the problematic bureaucracy they face.

A different approach to the story may have helped sell the twists and turns and a final reel rug-pull was too little too late. The cast was good, with Kidman being the slightly weak link –her botox-rigid face giving the audience almost no hint of emotion at all – yet they cannot lift the lacklustre yarn beyond what could be an entry in the Morgan Freeman-era Alex Cross series. Not the worse movie in the genre Secret in the Eyes does however simply takes a standard police drama and does nothing new with it at all.


Midlands Movies Mike

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