Happy Sunday MMT Fam! It’s been a very busy month for me, as I’ve seen several great films – especially at this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival – but I haven’t been able to write about them all in time for the nationwide releases. Consider this a heads up that I will tell you about a few great documentaries coming out, but they aren’t releasing soon so I have time!
I definitely wanted to write about SECRET IN THEIR EYES, because I believe it had a great script and an even better all-star cast featuring Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Academy Award winners Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman. Written and directed by Academy Award winner Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games), “Secret In Their Eyes” is a remake of the 2010 Best Foreign Film Oscar winning “El Secreto De Sus Ojos” – although liberties were taken with characters/story line in the update.
In this version, a Los Angeles team of investigators – Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts), along with their supervisor Claire (Nicole Kidman) – is unraveled after the tragic murder of Jess’ daughter. After obsessively searching everyday for thirteen years for the killer, Ray uncovers a new lead that he believes will nail the elusive murderer and bring long-desired closure for Jess and the team. He isn’t prepared, however, for a secret that will reveal the destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul.
I have not had the pleasure of viewing the original film, which has gotten great reviews from almost every outlet I’ve read, but unlike the original this updated version is getting pretty uneven reviews – currently has a 42% rotten on the Rotten Tomatoes site with a 50% audience like. Now I normally don’t take the time to look at reviews prior to writing mine, but since I did not see the first film, I was curious. And it’s a great thing I’m confident in my own opinions, because I completely disagree with many of the ratings I’m seeing!
I thought this film was remarkable. I don’t know if many of the naysayers are disappointed because they viewed the original – which even Billy Ray admits he was hesitant to remake because it set the bar very high – and feel it pales in comparison, but I believe this film stands on its own as a great story.
And both Ejiofor and Roberts are the consummate performers in this film. The murder scene is depicted very early on, and when I say these actors had both of my eyes filled – especially Roberts’ delivery of Jess grieving her daughter…heartbreaking.
The film toggles back and forth between decades – 2002 to 2015 – and does seem a bit tedious in that respect; however the payoff in the end is well worth it. And the cat-and-mouse pursuit of the criminal 13 years later kept me vested until that payoff came.
In short, I will give the same advice I offered for “Spotlight,” which I believe is one of this year’s greats, and say if you are the type of moviegoer that needs immediate gratification or constant stimulation this may not be your cup of tea. But for those who love watching a great story unfold, and if you aren’t sitting in the audience comparing to the first film, “The Secret In Their Eyes” is a winner.
Let me know in the comments if you see it and what you think!
Until next thought family, Thomasena