In spite of the mixed reviews from critics –– most of them exercising their Foreign-Films-Are-Art-And-Always-Better-Than-Hollywood Whining-Mode –– I finally broke down and went to see the American remake of the 2009 Argentine crime thriller EL SECRETO DES SUS OJOS!
Now, one lenient critic I read had said the US version neither brought nor took away anything from the original. Fair enough. I don't know, I haven't yet watched EL SECRETOS (I intend to). But I will tell you one thing Hollywood brought to the remake: English as a first language! (Ok, now I'm a racist. Doh!)
In spite of the lush beauty of the Spanish language, I do like to watched and listen to the movies I experience, instead of read them. (Stupid, insular, slow-witted American, I know.) All that being said...my real point is, I can now judge SECRET IN THEIR EYES as its own entity. No expectations. And...
I really liked the film! Is it wholly unpredictable all the time? No. But I didn't find that the most important aspect of the story. What I loved was the commitment of JULIA ROBERTS to her performance. This is in no way a glamor, smiley face role for her, and she never shies away from that –– her intensity at times cuts exquisitely to the bone. Yet her quiet depression and internal conflict over her loss, is no less intense, and seems to suck the life out of her more and more as the years go by, until finally actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (who is truly excellent!) says to her, "I think you look like you're a million years old."
Nicole Kidman is also very good in her role. Although her "role" is almost a secondary part and mostly adds to the set decoration –– but what a highly polished and beautiful piece of the set she is! I could watch Nicole Kidman simply blow her nose all day and think, WOW!, with my jaw on the floor.
Another excellent performance came from actor Joe Cole, who plays the VERY UNLIKABLE is-he/is-he-not killer/terrorist. Cole manages to emote a visage that makes me just want to punch him right in the face every time I see him on screen. But that's a good thing, for this story.
All in all, I very much enjoyed SECRET IN THEIR EYES. I recommend it highly. And although I previously might have seemed to dog it with my remark: "Is it wholly unpredictable all the time? No." I lied a little bit with that. There are twists on twists on twists. That's the secret in my eye.
Enjoy the trailer here: