Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Dean Norris, and Michael Kelly star in Secret in Their Eyes, a 2015 crime / thriller remake of the film El Secreto De Sus Ojos, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2010. Both films were adapted from the novel La Pregunta de Sus Ojos. With this cast, I was wondering how I could go wrong with this pick. Was it all I expected?
In 2002, Ray (Ejiofor) and Jess (Roberts) are two FBI agents assigned to the Terrorist Task Force working out of the District Attorney's office. Their mission is to stake out a local mosque while trying to expose sleeper cells. When they are called to respond to a murder at the mosque, they discover the young female victim is Jess's daughter. Complications arise when they learn that the main suspect is also a snitch for the counter-terrorist unit. With 9-11 fresh in the hearts and minds of citizens, the D.A. makes unthinkable decisions that end up haunting Ray for over a decade.
"I know I should forget it. It was another lifetime." ~ Ray, Secret in Their Eyes
But how do you forget murder? Now 13 years later and a new D.A. (Kidman) in place, Ray wants the case re-opened so he can finally seek justice for the murder of his partner's daughter.
Unfortunately, the script moves slow with little action to propel the plot forward, and I honestly expected more from a film with this caliber of talent. However, the performances were good despite a mediocre script, and my own need for closure on this murder case kept me watching. Also, the story itself was intriguing, even if the execution left much to be desired. Lastly, it was the jaw-dropping ending that truly made the film for me.
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Secret in Their Eyes deals with thematic issues of morality and guilt, and Roberts' portrayal of a mother overcome with grief over the loss of her child is believable and chilling. The film is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references.
Read more of Nik's Piks: After Hours movie reviews.