Argentinian film “The Secret In Their Eyes” (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009, is hard to pigeonhole as far as genre is concerned. It has been described as a thriller, and while indeed, thrilling (at times somewhat reminiscent of David Fincher’s Se7en), it is also just as much a love story, two love stories even, drawn tightly around the rape and murder of a young woman. Seen through the eyes of Benjamin, a retired criminal investigator, it starts with an old man’s inability to move on from these pivotal events that took place much earlier in his life. He goes to his old boss (and the object of a decades-old undeclared love), Irene, and tells her that he wants to write a novel about this old case which he is unable to forget. The story flashes backward and forward between the initial investigation which came to several less than satisfactory endings, and his present where he struggles to put his finger on what it is that draws him back to the past and will not allow him to let go. Benjamin sees the strength of the love of the dead woman’s husband and it pulls into perspective his passion for Irene and how his decisions have caused his own life to play out. When he chooses to seek out both the husband and the killer once more in an attempt to resolve his story he is drawn in again and in a denouement that questions love and justice his past and present will come full circle.
So, as a film? Believable characters, engaging plot, good acting, tension, humour, satisfactory conclusion. What more could one ask for? Look out for it soon at a cinema near you.