A remake of Juan José Campanella’s Academy Award-winning El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Secret in Their Eyes is a haunting, well-constructed puzzle constantly unveiling a new piece in the ever-clarifying picture.
Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a New York FBI agent on loan to the L.A. District Attorney’s office for post-9/11 terrorism surveillance, is thrust in the middle of a homicide investigation when the pretty teenage daughter (Zoe Graham) of his detective partner, Jess (Julia Roberts), is found brutally raped and murdered. When the top suspect (well and creepily played by Joe Cole) is found to be connected to the terror investigation, the powers that be, represented by Alfred Molina’s oily D.A., attempt to sweep it under the rug. Ray and his pals (including Dean Norris from “Breaking Bad”) have to break the law to do what is right.
Nicole Kidman is the pretty young legal hotshot who doubles as an unrequited love interest for Ray. Honestly, it sounds kind of boilerplate, but writer-director Billy Ray (he directed Shattered Glass and Breach, while contributing the screenplays for The Hunger Games, State of Play and Captain Phillips) and his cast get the most out of it. Ray continues his quiet ascension to the A-list; he should be there soon.
Secret in Their Eyes is cast in the same dark morality play mold as Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, which felt like the remake of a foreign film that Secret actually is. Adult audiences (who have already seen Room) looking for an intriguing, complex night at the multiplex will greatly appreciate the mysterious twists and surprisingly satisfying revelations of Secret in Their Eyes.
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