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The Secret in Their Eyes

Submitted by admin on May 13, 2010 – 9:05 pmNo Comment

The Secret in Their Eyes holds cinematic surprises to go along with its romance and mystery. The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) won the Oscar this year for best foreign film and considering  the competition included The White Ribbon and A Prophet that’s saying something.

This film from Argentina stars Ricardo Darin who just happened to be the star of another Argentinean film I consider to be one of the best con game films ever made, Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas).

Darin plays Benjamin, a former court investigator now writing a novel. Benjamin’s prose seem stalled as he labors over the girl that got away 25 years ago, Irene (Soledad Villamil) his former colleague and now herself a judge. His novel concerns an old murder case that was never solved. The story itself unfolds between the present day and the late 70s when Benjamin and Irene were caught up in the corruption of the then Peron government. In fact, the murder case main suspect goes free because another bureaucrat made a deal with the killer to be an informant against other subversives.

The aging of the actors is quite believable, we see them as they are in the present time (the year 2000 or so) and then photographed with lights, make-up and lenses to hide the wrinkles and color to hide the grey hairs. The way the past and present scenes are juxtaposed work like a well-oiled machine, we never hear the gears ticking. The past and present themes also converge as a love story as well as a thriller.
But The Secret in Their Eyes has another ace up its sleeve. We’re used to technological wonders in domestic films what with their penchant for CGI enhancement. Or take a recent film like Children of Men and recall the amazing level of expertise used in pulling off some of the camera shots. TSITE has a shot that will blow your fucking mind.

It’s actually a digital composite of several shots that are linked together as if they are one. We start from the point-of-view of a blimp above a soccer stadium and slowly start to move in until we have hovered from a mile in the air to mere feet off the ground. The camera continues through the field and then into the crowd. The camera settles on Benjamin way up in the stands and then moves away to reveal the suspect he has followed to the game. Soon a chase is on and the camera, remember we’re still in the same shot, goes all around the corridors of the stadium, and in a moment of cinematic clarity the suspect actually jumps down a story, at least 15 feet, and the camera follows him down to the ground and up as he gets to his feet and races, now being followed by Benjamin and other security, out onto the playing field. Here is a website that explains in technical terms how this shot was done.

Such attention to detail only accentuates a story that will resonate long after you’ve seen it. The Secret in Their Eyes opens exclusively at the River Oaks Three this weekend.

- Michael Bergeron

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