Published Apr 22, 2010If in fact the secret is truly in their eyes, as is announced like some new revelation in the title of this 2010 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, El Secreto de sus Ojos, then it must never have been much of a secret to begin with.
As far as I knew, the eyes have always been the gateway to everything you want to know about another person, but when it comes to this picture, you can almost get everything you need right there on the surface without any need to go deeper whatsoever.
Argentinean director Juan Jose Campanella has been working in the American television industry for years, from series as varied as 30 Rock to House, but has only tried his hand at feature films a few times in his life. Not surprisingly, this particular feature feels an awful lot like an episode of television — an episode of Law & Order, to be specific, a franchise that Campanella has actually directed before.
Ricardo Darin plays Benjamin Esposito, a retired police officer that has decided to write a novel about one of his most famous unsolved mysteries. Naturally, digging up the past brings a lot of unresolved feelings back to the surface of his life, as well as those whose past he's digging up alongside his own. It's a great story, and I can see why it would have haunted him all these years, but it isn't anything you couldn't catch on any of the countless cop shows out there already.
I understand that just because a picture picks up an Oscar doesn't mean it's a great film, but I still can't help having a certain level of expectation. El Secreto de sus Ojos is a very straightforward detective drama with promises that there are further levels just lying beyond our field of vision. When I looked into its eyes though, I didn't see anything more waiting underneath. (Mongrel Media)