Friday, 4 March 2016


Billy Ray's Secret in Their Eyes isn't a bad idea, much as the concept of Hollywood remakes of foreign films is often defined as such. The 2009 original is a good film, you see, though much of what made it so good has been jettisoned in transit; the result isn't a bad idea, it's a bad film. A star vehicle in essence, the purpose of this twisty plot, set over two time periods, has gotten buried under a preoccupation with serving those stars; would that as much effort had been put into the script as the hairstyles. That plot is pure pulp, but it's pulp that insists upon being taken seriously, and a combination of buddy cop movie quips and soap opera histrionics undermine this requirement. It's inherently interesting, though equally implausible when presented this way, and the essential link between event and outcome, action and reaction, the mechanics of the plot and its effect upon the characters is lost. Ray lifts a number of sequences directly from Juan Jose Campanella's film, but to consistently diminished returns; he alters some major plot details in a minor fashion, diluting a particularly potent one that gives the ending distinctly less sting. The political context feels arbitrarily added, despite drawing directly from a similar one in Campanella's film. But remember: this is a star vehicle, and lead performers Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts are faultless. They carry you through, even as you know it's not their responsibility to.