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The Secret in Their Eyes (2015) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 13 August 2015

 

Jay´s Review

If you choose to do a remake of an excellent film, will changing the cast plus ramping up the violence and hysteria make it a better film? The answer is: Not really. Although three Oscar winners on board helps a bit. It is embarrassing to see a story painted in such broad strokes for an American audience.

When the Oscar-winning "El secreto de sus ojos" came out of Argentina in 2010, I was so blown away I couldn't wait to buy my own copy. I reviewed it in July, 2010. (Obviously I was prepared to dislike this remake, but at least director Billy Ray ("Captain Phillips") worked with the original screenwriter Juan Jose Campanella. That made me curious...

We see:

  • * Nichole Kidman ("Queen of the Desert") Claire works with Jess and Ray.  We watch her come to her new job with great credentials and a lot of ambition. Claire takes a pivotal role in this particular case. Like Soledad Villamil before her as this character, Kidman knocks it out of the park.
  • * Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") Jess is an invention of this new version. Roberts gets to scream and emote, but later shows us in more subtle ways what she can do with a serious role. She's no glamor puss in this one. She seems to be shooting for character roles. Good for her.
  • * Zoe Graham ("Boyhood") Carolyn  is a daughter anyone would be proud of. Her mother Jess adores her.
  • * Chiwetel Ejiofor ("The Martian") Ray is absolutely gutted by this particular crime. He can't let it go because he feels responsible. And his attraction for Claire is the worst-kept secret in the court house.
  • * Dean Norris ("Under the Dome") Bumpy is getting older but he's still willing to help Ray because both of them feel an obligation.
  • * Joe Cole ("Green Room") With Marzin/Beckwith the question is: Is he or isn't he?

As with the original, the police officers are frustrated and dismayed by all the bureaucratic maneuvering. They can find the killer but can't control the bureaucrats. In this version, the bone of contention is our hero's employer, Homeland Security. His boss won't let him join the manhunt because a mosque has been bombed and he has a job to do.

I re-watched "El secreto de sus ojos" so I could give this new version a fair hearing. The remake is actually better than I expected. (I'll bet you didn't think I would admit it, did you? ...smile...) This is pretty good, but the original is spectacular.

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