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The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) (2010)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 133
Fresh: 121 | Rotten: 12

Unpredictable and rich with symbolism, this Argentinian murder mystery lives up to its Oscar with an engrossing plot, Juan Jose Campanella's assured direction, and mesmerizing performances from its cast.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 4

Unpredictable and rich with symbolism, this Argentinian murder mystery lives up to its Oscar with an engrossing plot, Juan Jose Campanella's assured direction, and mesmerizing performances from its cast.



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 26,756

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Movie Info

Benjamin Esposito has spent his entire working life as a criminal court employee. Recently retired, and with time on his hands, he decides to write a novel. He does not decide to make up a story. There is no need to. He can draw on his own past as a civil servant for a true, moving and tragic story in which he was once very directly involved. In 1974 his court was assigned an investigation into the rape and murder of a beautiful young woman. -- (C) Sony Classics

Sep 21, 2010


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Latest News on The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)

May 14, 2014:
Billy Ray Knows The Secret in Their Eyes
He'll direct a remake of the Argentinian Oscar winner.
September 15, 2011:
Denzel Washington Could See The Secret in Their Eyes
Billy Ray offers him the lead in his remake of the Argentinian Oscar-winner.


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All Critics (134) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (121) | Rotten (12) | DVD (3)

It's a film of enormous pretension and not enough reward.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Romantic obsession at its two extremes is explored with sympathy and intelligence in the thriller The Secret in Their Eyes...

June 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Although it has some memorably disquieting scenes, this story of long-delayed justice is sustained by its melancholy more than its thrills.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Campanella approaches the material with a classic hand -- no quick cuts, special effects or gimmicks here. This is a flesh-and-blood movie, and both Darin and Villamil bring earthy presence to the story.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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The entire film is stocked with images that reflect a character and story in flux.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
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Though the story occasionally seems a little too convenient to be true, it doesn't matter a whit, as the filmmaking is so skilled.

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... what might have been just a two-hour episode of Law and Order: Argentina is instead a rich, literary tapestry. ... I wish this could become a franchise.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Filmwell

This complex and involving Argentinean crime drama, with strong moral overtones, won the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

July 21, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

There are some "Are we there yet?" stretches as the film plays out toward the unexpected ending, but the final destination is worth the total travel time.

January 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

The story's political subtext ... provides a constant undertow of fear and menace to the hero's investigation.

January 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

The Secret in Their Eyes ... is an enjoyable procedural in its own right. Campanella's film is the Argentine equivalent of Gone Baby Gone, with a touch of Atonement thrown in for good measure.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix

It's a handsome production with a story rooted in the nasty past of political fascism, which may explain why it won, because it sure isn't subtle or dramatically challenging.

September 26, 2010 Full Review Source:

Tightly structured, visually conscious, well-acted mystery and love story.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

A superior procedural.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Darín's central performance is a consummate lesson in minimalist acting, deftly bypassing the tropes of the clichéd romantic lead and the crusading good guy.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

[A] tame effort that dazzles with high production values rather than genuine artistic achievement.

August 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

A supremely watchable, well-made and well-acted movie with a dark, sinewy sense of history...

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

Writer-director Juan Jose Campanella is a master of camerawork and editing. He is also wonderful with actors. There isn't a false performance here.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

A stylish and intelligent Argentine offering -- destined to become a world cinema classic.

August 13, 2010
Little White Lies

Humane and harrowing, highly recommended. This one will stay with you.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's the kind of film that creeps up on you and sinks in long afterwards.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

The film rattles along like a well-crafted Hollywood noir, circa 1945.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It's a gripping tale -- although there's not much to it beyond the intriguing plot -- and the ending's just as smart as you'd hope.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

Underneath the glossy surface, Juan José Campanella's film is a rather silly and flabby thriller.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: The Skinny | Comment (1)
The Skinny

It's already won awards, and received rave reviews, so it's no secret; El Secreto de sus Ojos is one of the best thrillers released for years.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Audience Reviews for The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)

The 2010 Academy Awards category for Best Foreign Language film contained some strong contenders with the likes of Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" and Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon"; two films that could easily have laid claim to the award. However, it was this film crept up from under their noses and took the Oscar. Whether or nor you pay any credence to the Oscars is neither here nor there but there's no doubt that this is solid and absorbing filmmaking.
In 1999, retired criminal justice officer Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darìn) decides to write a novel about a murder case that he investigated in 1974. He decides
visits his old colleague Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil) to talk it over. The case had repercussions for everyone involved but Benjamin didn't realise the direct effect it had on him or his deep, suppressed feelings for Irene.
With a title like "The Secret In Their Eyes", this film states it's intentions and stands by them. Director Juan José Campanella lingers long on shots and wisely focuses on the eyes of his performers. For a film that's predominately dialogue driven, the abundance of close-up's add another dimension where the eyes speak a thousand words. It's a great technique that conveys a myriad of hidden meanings in the relationship between the two main characters, Benjamin and Irene. However, this relationship is not entirely apparent from the off-set. It's only when the film's layers are revealed that this comes to the surface, as in the meantime you're too preoccupied with it's murder-mystery plot developments. This mystery progresses into a manhunt, while taking time to explore the judicial system and political corruption that was rife in Argentina in 1970's. It's during this, that Campanella takes advantage of the thriller element in the story, delivery an absolutely astounding and very skilfully handled tracking shot through a football stadium, leading to an impressively assembled chase sequence. Just how they managed to do it is beyond me and needs to be seen to be believed. There are many moments of intensity when it matters (including a nerve-racking elevator moment that's hard to forget) but it also knows how to ground itself and that's were the performances come in; Ricardo Darin is a charismatic presence who more than holds your interest with unshakable ideals and a strong moral compass, while Soledad Villamil delivers a strong and reserved show. It's the chemistry between these two wonderful actors that play a big part in the film's, effortless, tonal shifts. It's also not without humour or tragedy which is provided by Guillermo Francella as Benjamin's alcoholic, but loyal and reliable colleague, Pablo.
Quite simply, it's easy to see why this film took the Oscar, it's has a bit of everything; a sharp and involving script that pays great attention to detail; skilful direction;
rich cinematography and natural, committed performances.
A complex tapestry about life, love and chances rued that's built around the constructs of a thriller. It excels in everything it challenges and that's exactly where it's strengths lie.

Mark Walker
May 5, 2013

Super Reviewer

This movie reminds me a little of Oldboy or Tell No One; it's a rivetting crime drama tied together by really endearing and human characters. This movie makes a point of letting you get to know all the characters and seeing their fears , goofiness and pettiness - all the things that make them human, basically - and uses them to anchor the investigation into a decades-old crime. Every single character in this movie is interesting and genuine: the villains aren't devoid of moral fibre, and the heroes aren't free from feelings of bitterness and selfishness. I really appreciated the time they took to hash out these people's motivations and relationships. The Secret in Their Eyes also reminded me a little of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but much less mean-spirited. This is not the kind of movie I usually go for, but I am so glad that I saw it.
April 25, 2012

Super Reviewer

An eye for an eye. The Secret In Their Eyes is an intelligent, multiple coherent plots on love, loss, and justice with political subtexts. Highly intriguing subtle themes. Sensational.
September 10, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

A former criminal court prosecutor recalls a case involving a raped woman and judicial corruption.
The Secret in Their Eyes is a superbly constructed thriller with strong performances by Ricardo Darin and Soledad Villamil, both of whom are able to convey so much with so little movement; it's understated, stoic acting at its finest.
The direction by Juan Jose Campanella is also quite strong. Benjamin is always at the edge of the screen, never fully seen until the very end. It's a strong choice, indicating Benjamin's distance from himself and inability to face all that his life has come to. Also, there's a great continuous shot (think: Children of Men or Atonement) at the football game and another shot of a chase scene that shows Campanella's technical brilliance.
I did think that the love story was not adequately set up so that when it became the main element of the third act, I was surprised.
Overall, this is a very strong thriller and quite accessible for all audiences.
August 8, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

    1. Isidoro Gómez: At least ask him to talk to me. [in reference to Morales]
    – Submitted by Nicolas Ezequiel A (2 years ago)
    1. Irene Menéndez Hastings: Obviously, they are not making any reference to this toasted-sausage germ.
    – Submitted by Nicolas Ezequiel A (2 years ago)
    1. Pablo Sandoval: And she wants to get married more than Susanita...
    – Submitted by Fernán O (2 years ago)
    1. Benjamín Espósito: How do you live a life full of nothing?
    – Submitted by Diana L (2 years ago)
    1. Ricardo Morales: If you keep going over the past, you're going to end up with a thousand pasts and no future.
    – Submitted by Breno d (3 years ago)
    1. Ricardo Morales: "Memories are all we end up with. At least choose the good ones."
    – Submitted by J D (3 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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