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Secret in Their Eyes, The


Stars: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella, Pablo Rago, Carla Quevedo

Director: Juan José Campanella

A good, solid thriller with several twists and turns along the way, if perhaps a surprise winner of the foreign-language Best Film Oscar earlier this year, this skilfully-tooled Argentinian drama is classy film-making that will entertain you most of the way.

Criminal justice investigator Benjamin Esposito (the always reliable Darin) is reluctantly assigned to the savage rape and murder of a young woman, the beautiful wife of Ricardo Morales (Rago). But we first meet Esposito 30 years later as, retired, he struggles to write a novel based on the case, a rough draft of which he brings to the district attorney (Villamil), for whom he still carries a torch.

The victim's distraught husband is totally bereft but, after several dead ends, he shows Esposito a series of photo albums that attract the investigator's attention. He spots a young man in several of them who seems to have eyes only for the dead girl. The suspect (Godino) is identified but cannot be found - until Esposito's assistant (Francella) has a flash of inspiration.

Even then, the case is far from closed and it will be decades before everything comes to light.

Similar in style to TV's Wallander - a little slow here and there but absorbing almost throughout - the story has a final twist that remains difficult to see until it's almost upon you. Godino is appropriately hateful as the fugitive and all other roles are etched in three dimensions.

David Quinlan

Argentina 2009. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour by deluxe.
127 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 07 Aug 2010