The pristine thriller that is Secret in Their Eyes stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts. Roberts plays Jess, an FBI investigator whose daughter is brutally murdered and she is unknowingly called to the crime scene. Ejiofor’s character, Ray, makes the gruesome discovery and their lives are ripped apart immediately. Their friend and district attorney supervisor, Claire, played Kidman, shares in that grief as well. To add insult to injury, the suspect (actor Joe Cole) walks free even though all evidence screams he’s the killer. Fast-forward 13 years later, our main characters have gone on to other things until Ray returns with startling news – he’s found the suspect and can actually put him away this time.
Here’s why you care about this movie and the storyline; performances! The fact that Ejiofor is able to portray himself as a person immensely obsessed with “justice” exudes onscreen. He is intense and you begin to lose yourself in his performance. Roberts as the victim’s mother is totally different, feeling-wise. You would expect her to be as emotional as Ejiofor, and you would demand that in some cases, but the fact that her grief is as powerful as Ejiofor’s rage is astounding! You feel for her, you become drained as you see the past drudged up. Is this what she really wants, to re-live a catastrophic event all over again? Is she truly over this tragedy? Has she moved on? The subplot is just as entertaining because it deals with Kidman’s character and her relationship, or lack thereof, with Ejiofor. Everyone had great chemistry in this movie.
Now, it does shift back and forth, time-wise. There are many flashbacks in Secret and normally, flashbacks confuse an audience, more so when the flashbacks aren’t cued. When I saw the first couple of flashbacks, I thought to myself, “Oh lord, this is gonna get me all mixed the hell up!” Luckily, the time-shifts and flashbacks enhance the story. Plus, the supporting actors shine because of the flashbacks. The character development of everyone is perfectly displayed, and that’s all due to cohesive flashbacks and time-shifts. The movie would’ve suffered had this been done in chronological order, in my opinion. Shout-out to director Billy Ray on that gamble, and the editor Jim Page (I can’t leave you out, homie!). There’s plenty of deception and suspense in this flick, and a huuuuge “Oh Shyt!” moment in the 3rd act. You won’t see that plot-twist coming, I guarantee! The Secret in Their Eyes is out of the bag. Tell the world about it!
Secret in Their Eyes is an exceptionally well-executed movie. It’s not too long and not too short, so you won’t lose interest. There are no dry spells, either. The movie flows perfectly well into the ending credits. This is a thinking-person’s movie; short on distracting CGI (special effects, you know how I get with the technical terms, sometimes), but loooong on dazzling performances.
I’m giving Secret in Their Eyes a FULL PRICE CO-SIGN! Go check this one out, y’all.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be able to turn the other cheek if someone tried to go after my loved-ones. I’m calling my cousins! We’re loading up the color-faded Mazda MPV, and ridin’ out! Wait a minute, my gas hand’s low. Uh ruh, who got snaps on the petro?