If you are even remotely a fan of TV shows such as 'CSI' or 'Criminal Minds', then this Oscar-winning, Argentinean crime drama is guaranteed to satisfy your appetite for forensics. 'The Secret in Their Eyes' lures you in from the get go with the brutal rape and murder of a young woman, Liliana Coloto (Quevedo). Although for many this scene will be uncomfortable to watch, it instantly brings up dozens of questions in the mind of the viewer. These days it is very rare to find a movie that has the audience longing for more within the first 10 minutes.
We are swiftly introduced to Benjamín Esposito (Darín), a retired criminal court clerk who is still haunted by Liliana's death 25 years later. In an attempt to gain closure, Benjamín plans to write a book, but he continuously struggles to make it past the first page. After visiting his former superior, Irene Menéndez Hastings (Villamil), who's now a high court judge, Liliana's case is grudgingly re-opened. It is never fully explained as to why Irene risks her reputation and puts her job on the line by revisiting the case, but the tension-filled glances between her and Benjamín will provide the answer for many.
Director Campanella employs flashbacks to move from the late 1990s to the mid-1970s, but by using the same actors he avoids confusing any viewers. As Benjamín tries to remember the details of the case, we get a brilliant insight into the immediate aftermath of the murder - from the questioning of the victim's distraught husband (Rago) to the arrest of a suspect (Godino) who is later released in what can only be viewed as part of a personal vendetta against Benjamín. As the events unfold, we are also introduced to the former investigator's 'partner in crime', Pablo Sandoval (Francella) - his drunken antics providing humorous relief in an otherwise sombre movie.
Ricardo Darín's performance as Benjamín is outstanding in both the past and present, and the chemistry between his character and his former boss is very strong and highly convincing. However, Francella, Godino and Rago's contributions also deserve praise, and heighten the suspense and sense of reality which the movie exudes.
'The Secret in Their Eyes' has such an emotional and visual depth that it's almost impossible not to become entranced by this excellent thriller. The plot unfolds like a typical detective story, yet no matter how hard you try, or however many victorious games of 'Cluedo' you have bagged down the years, the mind-boggling ending is impossible to predict. Ultimately, the viewer is left with the belief that time doesn't automatically heal wounds, and that predicaments thrown at us in life will forever mould our future.