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Secret In Their Eyes


Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Zoe Graham, Lyndon Smith, Ross Partridge

Director: Billy Ray

Despite boasting a cast featuring two Oscar winners and some efficient location work, this Hollywood remake of Argentinian filmmaker Juan José Campanella’s 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner, scripted and directed by Billy Ray, never quite manages to answer the obvious question, “Why a remake when the original was so good?”

In post 9/11 Los Angeles, DA investigator Julia Roberts’ teenage daughter is raped and murdered. 13 years later her FBI colleague Chiwetel Ejiofor is still hunting for the killer, coming across more like a vigilante than a law officer. And when he uncovers what he believes to be a new lead, he returns to Los Angeles to follow it, reuniting with his former lover District Attorney Nicole Kidman…

Ray switches time zones to tell his story but largely fails to make the drama in either setting particularly effective, resulting in a star-driven police procedural that never grips quite hard enough to justify its running time and sometimes resembles a longer, more starry riff on television’s Law and Order crime series, a resemblance that is fortified by the appearance of Law and Order: LA star Alfred Molina as the hard-ass police chief.

Roberts (whose husband Daniel Moder is the movie’s cinematographer) eschews glamour and her performance as the grieving mother gains credible dramatic force as a result. Kidman plays Kidman and Ejiofor’s performance and American accent are both effective.

But, despite the cast, all of whom work hard despite the material they have been given, the resultant blend of police procedural and murder mystery never completely gels.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 06 Mar 2016