Recently retired criminal court investigator Benjamin (Ricardo Darin), decides to write a novel based on a twenty-five year old unresolved rape and murder case, which still haunts him. Sharing his plans with Irene (Soledad Villamil), the beautiful judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years, Benjamin’s initial involvement with the case is shown through flashbacks, as he sets out to identify the murderer. But Benjamin’s search for the truth will put him at the center of a judicial nightmare, as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, testing the limits of a man seeking justice and personal fulfillment at last.
The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos), an Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, is part cold-case mystery, part long-lost love story, and part thriller set both in the present and in 1970s Argentina, under the tight control of its infamous military dictatorship. Director Juan José Campanella manages to tread easily across these genres with a story that's gripping, a little outlandish, and compelling--if full of a growing sense of dread. The Secret in Their Eyes stars Ricardo Darín as Benjamin, a policeman who gets pulled into investigating a decades-old crime, and becomes drawn in, almost against his will, as layers of information about the missing (murdered?) girl slowly come to light. As Benjamin investigates, he runs into a woman for whom he has long carried a torch, Irene (Soledad Villamil), an ambitious judge who had also at one point been involved in adjudicating the old crime. The chemistry between Benjamin and Irene is part of the "secret in their eyes," as the pull between the old colleagues becomes palpable. But also palpable is the hold that this unsolved crime has over Benjamin--a creepy borderline obsession that is reminiscent of the American film noir classic Laura. Fancy cinematography and well-crafted flashbacks to the era of the crime--set against the backdrop of the military dictatorship--add extra depth to what is a truly original story, told in layers with great intelligence. Fans of great mysteries and dramas--and of lost love that may again be found--will not want to miss The Secret in Their Eyes. --A.T. Hurley