The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

The Secret in Their Eyes

The Secret in Their Eyes Review

The Secret in Their Eyes is a 2009 Argentine crime film that received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is in my opinion not worthy of its Oscar and quite a weak and annoying film.

The story is its biggest problem. There is nothing here that is remotely memorable or at least interesting or engaging. It is a dull and plain tired procedural that revolves around a murder and a rape which is so typical and never distinguishing itself from other films of the same genre. It was to me boring from start to finish. It has its moments, especially some warm and quiet sequences, but it is mostly too familiar and ordinary to be enjoyed.

But what took me out of it the most is definitely its violence. The Secret in Their Eyes is awfully violent and just difficult to watch. For a guy who is not a fan of violent and harsh scenes, this certainly was not for me. And it seemed pointless and too sensational. Also, there are some disgusting sexual scenes and the movie is filled with cursing. The characters literally curse the whole running time which is super annoying.

Speaking of the characters, they are flat. But the two lead characters are solidly developed which was great to see. However, none of the others fail to bring anything to the table. But what is the silver lining in this movie is definitely the acting. The movie is filled with extraordinary performances, really fantastic job done from each and every actor. Of course the highlight is Ricardo Darin. He is absolutely superb in his role and he brings the necessary professionalism to this otherwise mediocre film. He really is a great Argentinean actor which is also evident in 2014’s ‘Wild Tales‘ where he was also outstanding. Soledad Villamil also did a terrific job and she even stole some scenes from Ricardo how good, subtle and natural she is. They both really did an amazing job and they are the sole reason to see this movie in my humble opinion.

The directing is also really good. Juan Jose Campanella did a really good job. And the movie is well filmed and well acted across the board. But the cinematography is nothing to write home about and the script is mediocre. And the tone of the movie is too dark and violent with just a couple of warm sequences that are just not enough unfortunately. And the movie is also awfully edited and paced with the running time being needlessly over two hours. It definitely did not deserve its Oscar and that choice was once again too political.

The Secret in Their Eyes should be seen just for the performances because both Ricardo Darin and Soledad Villamil did a terrific job in their roles, but otherwise it is an incredibly tired and just downright tedious crime film that does not distinguish itself from other films of the genre at all. It is a dull movie that is too violent and disgusting at times, but mostly mediocre and forgettable.

My Rating – 2


Wild Tales (2014)

Wild Tales

Wild Tales Review

Wild Tales is an Argentine black comedy anthology movie directed by Damien Szifron and it consists of six segments which are all about vengeance.

The first story revolves on a plain where the passengers quickly realize that all of them know the pilot. This is the story that works as a segment but also as some kind of prologue and introduction to the whole movie and it does that beautifully instantly making you invested and interested in the movie with its crazy but incredibly authentic and of course hilarious situation. And it also ends in a great way starting the whole movie and making you smile and very intrigued.

The second story is also about revenge where the waitress suddenly sees the man who had hurt her family come at her restaurant and her planning and arguing with the cook whether or not to poison him. This is a story that continues the crazy situations with a somewhat less wild premise, but very interesting and fascinating nevertheless. The character of the cook is excellent and the way it all ends is once again the best way it could have ended and a very satisfying conclusion to the story.

The third story is about two men driving on highway where one man insults the other and must suffer the consequences later when his car stops. This is the segment which is not only the very best in the whole film but also one of the most fascinating and jaw-dropping sequences in years. Not to mention the sheer originality and evident craftsmanship in its execution. It literally made me smile all the way and almost made me shout at all the things that started to happen in this crazy situation. It is such a wild, incredible, authentic and entirely engaging and entertaining segment that is truly a marvel to behold.

The fourth segment is about a man whose car is taken away while he’s preparing for his daughter’s birthday. It was to me the most boring and weakest part in the movie because of slow pace and a story which is nowhere near those that preceded it. But it is nevertheless a part that showcases man’s problems with society the most and the segment which is probably the one which we can relate to the highest degree because all of us have been in similar situations but haven’t had the courage to do something about it.

Then there is the fifth segment where a young man hits a woman with a car and it is all about how his father tries to help him hiring the lawyer and working up a plan. It is, as with the fourth one, not that involving, but it is also very relevant in its situation and very realistic in its characters and realization. It is the most relatable part along with the last one.

The sixth and final story revolves around the wedding where the wife learns that her husband has been cheating on her and it is undoubtedly the best segment after the third one of course. It is hilarious from start to finish, again filled with relatable but this time crazy characters and a situation which is ripe for black comedy. It is so entertaining and funny that it flies by quickly and its conclusion is once again very original and wild to say the least.

This movie has stories that range from socially conscious to incredibly violent and crazy and there lies the uneven tone. And of course not all of them are as original or as entertaining as the others. But those are only minor flaws in this truly exceptional foreign film which is definitely one of the best of the year in a year full of fantastic foreign movies. The stories are so wild thus making the title so fitting. They are filled with crazy, but positively crazy characters, which are also relatable in most stories. The humor is terrific making you laugh the whole time and it is one of the best black comedies in years. But its authentic approach and evident originality is what makes it such a superb feature along with the sheer entertainment factor to it. And all are connected with a theme of revenge which is great making it also one of the best anthology movies lately. And it is difficult to make an anthology film, but the filmmakers managed to do it in style thanks to awesome direction, excellent acting and superb and memorable stories all around. It is in the end a phenomenal movie and one of the most purely fun and wonderfully original and delightfully crazy movies of 2014.

My Rating – 4.5