A remake of an Argentinian Oscar-winner,Secret in Their Eyesis a compelling crime mystery. Jess Layt offers her take on the film.
After more than 25 years in the industry, Hollywood heavyweights Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts have finally teamed up for their first film together.
Both actresses have a long and diverse body of work, dabbling in comedies, action, fantasy and dramas, but they have come together in a dark, contemplative mystery thriller.
Secret in Their Eyes follows three former law enforcement agents in Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Jessica (Roberts) and Claire (Kidman), and the vexing event that threw all their lives off course.
Ray and Jessica, back in 2002 and in the wake of the September 11 attacks, were part of a counter-terrorism group tasked with monitoring a Los Angeles mosque, while Claire was a new assistant district attorney working alongside them.
One morning, a body is discovered in a dumpster outside the mosque, so Ray, a former homicide detective, and Jessica and their team immediately head to the site to examine the scene.
But the body in the dumpster is Jessica’s daughter Carolyn, and the moment she discovers this is truly harrowing – a powerful moment from Julia Roberts.
The team’s attempt to bring their suspect to justice in 2002 is played out in parallel scenes with the present day, where after 13 years out of the picture, Ray has found the man they believe responsible for Carolyn’s death.
The film poses a myriad of moral dilemmas, many even more pertinent given the world’s current state; rocked by terrorism all too frequently, leaving people begging for answers and questioning long-held beliefs.
Secret in Their Eyes is not a crime mystery to be held in the company of top-shelf productions like of Se7en or The Silence of the Lambs, but exists on the shelf below.
Movies like Copycat, Taking Lives and The Bone Collector are more of this film’s ilk – compelling and entertaining, something to be revisited fondly in years to come.
It is not a classic that will be etched in the minds of a generation, but an enjoyable, second-tier fare.
What will make Secret in Their Eyes memorable, however, is the completely stripped-back, unglamorous turn by Julia Roberts.
This is the least Julia Roberts-like the Oscar-winning actress has ever been, with no sign of her trademark smile or movie-star gravitas.
Roberts’ performance is the stand-out in the film, easily eclipsing Kidman.
Ejiofor is also strong and sympathetic, but Roberts steals the film away from her co-stars with by emotionally baring all.
Secret in Their Eyes is in cinemas now and is rated M.
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