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Movie Review: The Secret in Their Eyes

Alternate Title: Law & Disorder

Story: This film was Argentina's entry into the 2009 Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. Shockingly, it won (well, at least I was shocked). Written and directed by Juan José Campanella (see trivia about the director and his association with L&O) this 'ripped from the headlines' who-dunnit, mystery, romance, thriller took a very long time to tell it's tale.

The film flashes back and forth between the rape and murder of a lovely, young woman in 1974 to the present. A retired law clerk, who decides to write a novel about the unsolved murder rediscovers his past, his long lost love and the truth. It just takes a heck of a long time to uncover the mystery. So long, in fact, that my sister fell asleep. Her Alternate Title would probably have been 'Wake Me When it's Over.'

There are surely good things about the film. It is well acted, pretty to look at and Buenos Aires is lovely. The bad news is that it needed to be edited by at least 30 minutes. There seemed to be four endings, as in 'fade to black' but it continues just when you think it is over. I also was able to figure out the mystery about 30 minutes prior to the conclusion (maybe I have seen too many Law & Orders myself).

The larger themes of political corruption, Argentina's struggles with juntas and dictatorships are seen in the background and I would have liked those stories more than the one that was front and center. Don't cry for me, Argentina.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CUj7kdW7IQ

The Law & Order Doink Doink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OlCVNn9ZeY

Acting: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, and Guillermo Francella are all terrific.

Trivia: Juan José Campanella directed 17 episodes of Law & Order:SVU. Soledad Villamil won Best Actress in Argentina for this role. Ricardo Darin won Best Actor in Argentina for this role.

Predilection: This won Best Foreign film in this year's Oscar race. I like to see all Oscar nominated films.

Critters: Dogs

Soundtrack: Mysterious

Opening Titles: A lovely blurry montage opens the film with all credits at the end.

Visual Art: Argentina looks beautiful.

Theater Audience: About 20 other people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Rape is always squirmy.

Drift Factor: I did not drift - but I did look at my watch often.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Apparently so - but not in my opinion.

Big Screen or Rental: Either

Length: A bit over two hours.