Thursday, June 18, 2015
The Secret in Their Eyes
Benjamin Esposito has a tough time at the beginning of the movie; he just cannot find the right words to express his feelings. I am very much in the same boat as Benjamin. I happen to have the worst writer’s block ever. But like Benjamin, I steel myself and start afresh.
Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin) attempts to write a crime book, based on a now cold case that has been haunting him since the days he came across it as a judicial criminal investigator. The audience is then shown flashes of the crime; it is violent, it is brutal and it will make you take at least one sharp breath. Benjamin is visibly disturbed by the recollection of these memories and he stops. He goes to visit his old boss, a judge Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil), with whom he had worked on the case.
The meeting of old colleagues is a joyful one. But after the initial pleasantries, Benjamin comes clean about his motive behind his visit. He tells Irene that he wants to write the Morales case, which had always plagued him. Irene is clearly taken aback and is not quite agreeable with the decision and even mocks Benjamin by saying “But you are not a writer.” But she gives him her blessings and presents him with the old typewriter which Benjamin had previously used during his tenure as a criminal investigator.
Thus, The Secret in their Eyes initiates a captivating back and forth journey through time between the 1974 and 2000 Buenos Aires. This journey makes the audience privy to both the crime and the unavowed feelings that had always existed between Benjamin and Irene. The appeal of The Secret in their Eyes lies with its enigmatic and lithe quality. The approach is deliberately digressive and ruminative. It deliberately distorts the genre lines and the story telling techniques. It is both a murder mystery and a love story. It is also a political allegory about the 1970’s Argentina, of its diseased right wing politics. In a world where killings, vanishings, and rubbing outs was an everyday affair, Argentina in the 1970s is an ideal setting for the film noir.
Benjamin’s obsession with the cold case is his attempt at redemption, for a second chance at love with the woman he had loved for the last twenty five years. Darin makes a seductively melancholic yet unexpectedly gallant hero to Villamil’s perfect woman as a tall brunette with soulful eyes. As the title of the film suggests, The Secret in their Eyes is heavily made up with close-ups. The camera is forever gazing intently over the faces of the characters to decipher ‘the secret in their eyes.’