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Movie Breakdown: Secret In Their Eyes

November 19, 2015

Film

The Impression:

The original Secret In Their Eyes (Best Foreign Language Film winner at the 2009 Academy Awards) is a masterpiece, so it’s hard to be excited about a remake.  Still, the 2015 version features three great actors – Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts – and writer/director Billy Ray does have a solid resume (director – Shattered Glass, writer – The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips).  So maybe it’ll be alright?

The Reality:

The 2009 version of Secret In Their Eyes is very well layered and really takes its time unfolding.  You actually start to feel as though the case being worked won’t properly get closed and that all involved won’t ever receive any sort of closure or relief.  Then, right as you want to hang your head, the plot twists and leaves you with your jaw on the floor.  It’s a brilliant film, one that challenges you and makes you question a lot of things about yourself and those you think you know.

The 2015 version is not quite as masterfully crafted.  Now don’t get me wrong, I liked it well enough.  The film’s cast all turn in good performances, and even though I knew how the story would end, I still enjoyed watching it all come together.  Overall, I’d say it’s a fairly solid crime thriller.  What keeps it from being more than that though is that it’s poorly paced.  The movie barrels along, never really letting anything settle, and the ending, which should carry a big punch, abruptly arrives and then goes without much of an impact.  It felt almost as though writer/director Billy Ray’s only goal was to show the twisty conclusion, so he made sure to hurry up and get there.  Where’s the patience?

Admittedly, my thoughts on the new Secret In Their Eyes are skewed by my love for the original, so it may actually be better than I think it is.  I say matinee it and keep your expectations in check (whether or not you’ve seen 2009 version).

The Lesson:

An unnecessary remake is still an unnecessary remake, but it’s definitely more tolerable when it doesn’t outright suck.

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