Adapted from the Argentinian book El secreto de sus ojos by author Eduardo Sacheri the new movie starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor the movie is a remake of the 2009 Argentine version of the same name.
When FBI counter- terrorism agents Ray ( Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess ( Julia Roberts) are called to a crime scene, what they discover will inexplicably change the course of their lives forever. Brutally murdered and dumped in a dumpster Jess’ own daughter is the victim. Their lives and the lives of all their colleagues including District Attorney Supervisor Claire ( Nicole Kidman) as the very justice system that Jess upholds betrays her in an effort to cover up the culprit.
Thirteen years later Ray comes across fresh evidence that he may have found the killer, which leads him down a dark rabbit hole that will in turn threaten to destroy him and Jess. It seems him put himself in the way of danger, officers get killed and it almost breaks the fragile sanity that Jess has created after the loss of her daughter.
The movie spends quite a bit of time flashing back between the past and present to build strong character backgrounds, choosing a fair bit to highlight the unrequited love between Ray and Claire. Over the thirteen years the viewer is taken into how as both a FBI agent and the victim’s mother Jess must struggle to cope after the brutal murder.
Julia Roberts plays a grief-stricken mother on the edge of insanity with believable brilliance that is effortless for the talented actress. As the movie unfolds we also delve deeper into Ray’s motivation as Chiwetel Ejiofor connects with the character and Ray’s undeniable sense of duty to Jess. Nicole Kidman is a little cold and wooden in her role as Claire and the character remains somewhat aloof throughout the film, making it hard for viewers to really connect with her. For the most part her expressionless face struggles to show any real emotion, making it at times frustrating to watch. It’s a good thing that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts along with the supporting cast are so good that Kidman’s inability to move her face goes largely ignored.
Directed by Billy Ray and with an exceptional music score , the real brilliance in the film lies with the final plot twist that will leave viewers a little shocked, possibly disgusted at the final outcome. It is an outcome however that most viewers will probably empathise with, understandably given the subject matter of the film.