Film Review – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Secret in Their Eyes 2015

Title – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Director – Billy Ray (Breach)

Cast – Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Joe Cole, Alfred Molina

Plot – A team of terrorism investigators including Ray Kastan (Ejifor), his partner Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and Claire Sloane (Kidman) have their lives turned upside down after a body of a murder victim turns out to be one of their children. After years of chasing the culprit, a fresh lead sparks Ray into another manhunt to capture the suspect responsible for the crime.

“Justice… I owe my daughter that”

Review by Eddie on 30/03/2016

If there was ever a prime example of a harmless yet utterly pointless Hollywood remake of a much better yet underseen foreign film it’s Billy Ray’s Secret in Their Eyes, a thriller that crashed and burned upon release late last year in the midst of a barely there marketing campaign and reviews that were middling at best, despite an awards friendly named cast and a story that should’ve been exhilarating only to end up as a sporadically intriguing mystery.

Before delving any further into the occasional virtues of Ray’s film (who’s never really gone the next step from his breakout Shattered Glass from 2003), those that’ve never seen Juan José Campanella’s Academy Award winning 2009 film of the same name from Spain should stop reading right now and seek it out as it’s one of the finest thrillers of the modern era with its standout out scripting, frenetic action scenes (a soccer stadium chase is breathtaking in its design), outstanding cast and final reveal that will leave jaws dropping on floors.

This Hollywood update of the original try’s to relive many of the originals past glories like the incendiary final reveal and even the stadium foot chase, this time transported to a disappointing baseball stadium setting, but the film feels somewhat lethargic overall and revelations and confronting situations that simmered in the 2009 film merely fizzle here despite the best effort of its loaded cast.

Filling in the role that was once earmarked for Denzel Washington, Chiwetel Ejiofor is the films anchor as determined investigator Ray Kastan and he acquits himself well to a fairly intense role but struggles to draw out sufficient chemistry with his female co-stars Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts, who continue on with their recent forgettable efforts with turns that required their experienced skill sets to do a little more with what they were given even though Ray’s plotting of the storyline leaves much to be desired with its flash back structure, even the films big finish is somewhat hampered by some sloppy editing that intrudes on the present moment.

At its heart, Secret in Their Eyes has an extremely appealing narrative that helps cover up many of this particular incarnation’s left wanting deliveries but it can’t help override the fact that this unnecessary remake isn’t even a patch on its foreign forefather and quite clearly wasn’t as appealing to western audiences as the studio obviously thought it would’ve been.

2 ½ limping Hank’s out of 5

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