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THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES

Director: JUAN JOSE CAMPANELLA

127 minutes| Argentina-Spain-France| 2009| Subtitled (Spanish dialogue)| Colour| D-Cinema


Some pundits were outraged when this relatively unheralded Argentine thriller beat A Prophet and The White Ribbon to the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but now we’re seeing it for ourselves, this much is clear: it really is that good. It starts as a detective story, with just-retired legal assistant Ricardo Darin trying to write about a murder case that’s haunted him for decades, consulting his old boss, top female lawyer Soledad Villamil, as he puts together the pieces. As Juan Jose Campanella’s film dazzlingly shifts back and forth in time, it becomes clear that Darin’s pursuit of the killer and his ever-burning desire for the alluring attorney are provocatively entwined.

Quite how the story manages to encompass procedural suspense, dark-hued romance and political commentary on Argentina’s corruption-shrouded past is a thing of wonder. The essence though is Campanella’s obvious conviction that a thoughtful, multi-layered drama can still be dashingly entertaining every step of the way. Do not miss. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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