Sunday, November 22, 2015

Secret In Their Eyes has satisfying and creepy double twist at the end

Movie:    Secret in their Eyes

Rating:    PG-13, 1 hour 51 minutes

Grade:   B-

In a Nutshell:   The source material is an Argentine crime thriller that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.  (“El Secreto De Sus Ojos”).  Despite its talented cast and Julia Roberts’ stellar performance, this remake isn't as good as the original and probably won’t win any awards.   Joining Roberts is Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dean Norris, and Alfred Molina.

It’s a disturbing movie that is dark, sad and depressing.  You leave the theater thinking “Ew” and “Oh” and “Ah” all at the same time.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Revenge doesn’t bring peace.
·         Does the end justify the means?
      Blood is thick.  A mother's love is thicker.
·         “Passions are like maps.  Passion always wins.” – Jess

Things I liked:
·         Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) tells Jess (Julia Roberts) that she looks like she’s a million years old.  She really does.  You can physically see the weight and pain she has worn for 13 years after her daughter was murdered.   Julia Roberts looks old, tired, and even...dare I say it... average.  Now, that’s good acting by a beautiful actress!
·         Julia’s heart-felt cries at her daughter’s crime scene were extremely believable and compelling.  I could hear soft whimpers and sobs in the audience during that entire emotional unraveling.
·         I love movie titles that make you think, although I think even more could have been done with this one.
·         Did you notice the piano outside the house with drinks on it?  What a fun idea for a night-time party….hard on the piano, though, unless you live in clear skies Los Angles, where the movie takes place.
·         There is some subtle humor that helps cut the tension every now and then.
·         I just taught my college students the word “predilection” the very day I saw this movie in the theater, so I was pleased to hear Jess use it in a sentence.  (Hint:  It means a preference or partiality for something.)
·         Cool camera views over Dodger Stadium. 
·         Good for Chiwetel Ejiofor for having two movies out in theaters at the same time!  (Hint:  The other one is The Martian.)
      SPOILER ALERT:  I love the double twist at the end.  Creepy though, yet satisfying.
      I don't know if it was intentional or not, but the movie poster looks like a woman's view from her burka. There is a Muslim element in the film with the crime scene taking place just outside a mosque and some discussion about the post-9/11 fear towards Islam.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Writer and director Billy Ray thought mixing up the original story would give it a sense of urgency.  Wrong.  The movie lunges from present day back to the past, sometimes making it confusing to keep the timeline straight.  It’s often difficult to find clues to help you quickly ascertain which of the two decades you are seeing, as the background and even clothing are the same.  The result is a messy mix with bad transitions that don’t flow and a confused audience.
·         It’s a bit slow-moving.

Funny lines:  
·         “They teach you some version of ‘Yes, Sir!’ at the Bureau, don’t they?”  - Martin Morales (Alfred Molina)
·         “You really are an idiot….medically.” – Jess
·         “Harvard law doesn’t date community college.  Stop hitting on my new hire.” – Martin Morales

Tips for Parents:
·         This is not a family entertainment film, especially for young children.  The theme is very dark.
·         Some profanity, death, unpleasant images, and violence.

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