Only last week Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in the overall disappointing crime action movie ‘Triple 9’. Casey Affleck also starred in the crime drama but he redeemed himself in the same weekend with the very enjoyable ‘The Finest Hours’. Could Ejiofor make up for the disappointment of ‘Triple 9’ this weekend with ‘Secret In Their Eyes’? I didn’t actually have a clue as to what this film was about all I knew was that it didn’t get a good reception in America. From the posters and title it looked like a claustrophobic thriller. I’ve been a fan of lesser watched thrillers in the past, such as ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ which stars Nicole Kidman who features here too, so I’d far from written off ‘Secret In Their Eyes’.
After watching the film I discovered that it was actually a remake of the film ‘The Secret In Their Eyes’ which won the best foreign film Oscar in 2009. It seems like a ridiculously short space of time to warrant a remake but I suppose the language element is reason enough. Once you get past the awful title to the film that makes it sound like a nineties trashy thriller the story is presented through two different timelines running along parallel to each other for the entirety of the movie. This story telling method can work well however here I found it did require quite a bit of effort to keep up with it. Not a lot is done to help distinguish between which time period some scenes are set in and at times it was a little confusing. Once you establish which timeline you’re in though this method worked well. The film’s not even two hours long but there is a period around the one hour mark in which the pace slows right down and you’ll probably find yourself a bit bored. In these ten to fifteen minutes you’ll possibly begin to pick apart the movie, this is certainly what I was doing and I did find a plot hole which did irritate me slightly. However, other than these issues there was plenty to enjoy in this film!
Despite this short period of slow pace at all other times the film does engage the audience quite well, the mystery and action featured are enough to make what the audience are watching fairly interesting. There are two or three very gripping or emotive moments in the movie which were definitely the highlights to the story. Each of these moments allows the three main performers the chance to excel. The cast has plenty of names in it but the three main characters are played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts. Ejiofer is a compelling leading man and I’m glad that he gets more screen time here than he did in ‘Triple 9’. He’s always very watchable and he has great presence as a leading man. The supporting actresses are good too though, Nicole Kidman has such a wide range as an actress and she settles into her role as a District Attorney very well. Julia Roberts hasn’t starred in anything for a number of years now but that doesn’t seemed to have effected her acting abilities as just like her fellow cast members she delivers a good performance here too. The cast certainly make the slower moments of the film that little bit more watchable. However, it wasn’t just the cast who make up for these but the finale too, the conclusion to the film plays out well. It has a good build up and most viewers should view it as a reward for their investment in the film, I certainly did.
So even though at times ‘Secret In Their Eyes’ does feel like a thriller from around two decades ago it’s still easily enjoyable in this day and age. The mystery element to the story plays out well with several scenes really grabbing the attention of the audience where it may have flagged before due to that one slow period. The film is always anchored by it’s three lead performances and especially that of Ejiofor’s. Not one to write home about but you definitely shouldn’t write off ‘Secret In Their Eyes’ either, a simple but entertaining thriller.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What kind of roles would you like to see Chiwetel Ejiofor take on in the future?
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