Film review: El secreto de sus ojos

Argentinean film El secreto de sus ojos (The secret in their eyes) is a crime thriller interwoven with a subtle love story, set against the backdrop of 1970s Argentina as it edges towards a fascist coup d’état. It tells the tale of Benjamin Espósito, a recently retired court investigator who fills his time writing a novel about a case that has haunted him for decades. As he works on his manuscript he occasionally meets up with his former boss Irene, whom Espósito has always secretly been in love with. She seems little impressed by his attempt at a novel, and appears reluctant to drag up the past. The work on his book takes Espósito back to the 1970s, when he investigated the rape and murder of a beautiful young woman. The pain and emptiness suffered by the grieving widower made him determined to catch the killer. With the help of his friend and colleague Sandoval, an endearing drunk, he gets the villain behind bars for life. Soon after though, the murderer gets released in a deal with the fascist powers that tighten their grip on the country. Espósito is forced to flee Buenos Aires, as his own life is threathened by the dark forces protecting the killer. As he writes his book on this painful chapter in his life, he is not content with fictionalising the gaps in the story, and goes on a fresh search for truth. As he faces up to retirement as a single man, Espósito is obsessed by the question of how one can "live a life full of emptiness". He tracks down the widower in the 1970s murder case, in search of an answer. As he does so, Espósito re-awakens events and feelings from the past. This nostalgic feeling film will not be rushed, yet is an enthralling way to spend 127 minutes of your leisure time. 
(PHILIP HOFMAN)

Director: Juan José Campanella
Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella

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