The Secret in Their Eyes: The Underwhelming Oscar Winner From Argentina

Say what you will, but the lead actors in Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella's latest film do have lovely (or at least handsomely shot) peepers. But the secrets you ultimately find therein are hilarious. Feeling as if he's missed out on life, retired court investigator Esposito (Ricardo Darin) visits his foxy former superior with an idea for a book about a woman's rape-murder—not the funny part—during the dictatorship-shadowed 1970s. Flash back to his unsanctioned investigation of the killing—and to sexual tensions with said boss (Soledad Villamil), not uninterested but spoken for. The upshot, amid picturesque hand-wringing about the past: The murder victim's devoted widower inspires Esposito's profound regrets over not having had the affair. Campanella, who overconfidently takes his time, outfits the film with ludicrous interrogation scenes, a drunken colleague who provides comic relief and redemptive tragedy, and a climactic flood of memories that plays like a trailer. But it's the big reveal—a secret burden, naturally, to end all secret burdens—that ends the movie with Oscar-winning ridiculousness.

 
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