Secret in Their Eyes

Critics Consensus

Secret in Their Eyes wastes its incredible cast on a remake that fails to improve upon -- or even make a compelling case for its own existence in addition to -- the remarkable original.



Reviews Counted: 147

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User Ratings: 12,739


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.1/5

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Movie Info

A tight-knit team of rising investigators - Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts), along with their supervisor Claire (Nicole Kidman) - is suddenly torn apart when they discover that Jess's teenage daughter has been brutally and inexplicably murdered. Now, thirteen years later, after obsessively searching every day for the elusive killer, Ray finally uncovers a new lead that he's certain can permanently resolve the case, nail the vicious murderer, and bring long-desired closure to his team. No one is prepared, however, for the shocking, unspeakable secret that will reveal the enduring, destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul.

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Alfred Molina
as Martin Morales
Zoe Graham
as Carolyn
Don Harvey
as Fierro
Joe Cole
as Marzin / Beckwith
Benjamin Waters
as LAPD Detective
Greg Duncan
as Baseball Player
Toni French
as Dodger Baseball Fan
John Papsidera
as Dodger Player Mastery
Amir Malaklou
as Aban Ghazala
Phillip O'Riley
as Hallway Baseball Fan
Walter Tabayoyong
as Photographer
Alessandro Cuomo
as Police Officer
Bryan Williams
as Horse Race Attendee
Glenn Davis
as Stadium Cop
Jahmilla Jackson
as Horse Race Attendee
Mark Famiglietti
as Duty Sergeant Jacobs
John Pirruccello
as Duct Tape Salesman
Ho-Sung Pak
as Peanut Vender (Stunt)
Laurence Todd Rosenthal
as Popcorn Guy (Stunt)
Niko Nicotera
as Hammer/Chop Shop Thug
Israel Feres David
as Angry Dodger Fan
Dennis Keifer
as Chop Shop Thug #2
Erik M. Solky
as Panicked Man
Michael Tennant
as Arriving Cop
Noel Gugliemi
as Garbed-Out Fan
Ho Sung Pak
as Peanut Vender (Stunt)
Carrick O'Quinn
as Protective Detail #1 (Stunt)
C.C. Taylor
as Protective Detail (Stunts)
Erik Solky
as Panicked Man
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News & Interviews for Secret in Their Eyes

Critic Reviews for Secret in Their Eyes

All Critics (147) | Top Critics (29)

The remake, adapted and directed by veteran Hollywood screenwriter Billy Ray, messes with and messes up the central romance and changes the triangular dynamic.

Feb 25, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

An English-language remake of Juan José Campanella's far superior Argentinian thriller.

Dec 3, 2015 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Can we believe that police officers would let a psychopathic rapist and murderer go free in the name of fighting homegrown terrorism? As an allegory for human-rights abuses during the War on Terror, it's a non-starter.

Nov 24, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It's Julia Roberts who owns the movie. As the grieving Jess, a woman reduced to a shadow by the death of her daughter, Roberts is a revelation here.

Nov 20, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
Toronto Sun
Top Critic

A dream-team cast is wasted in this contrived and morose crime thriller.

Nov 20, 2015 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Essentially a grim procedural with too many moments of untapped potential and a moderately shocking twist.

Nov 20, 2015 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Secret in Their Eyes

Secret In Their Eyes is a dark and disturbing psychological thriller. The story follows a former FBI agent who, after 13 years, has tracked down the killer of his best friend's daughter and seeks to finally bring him to justice. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts, the performances are quite good. And the script is well-written, doing an impressive job at building the investigation and paralleling the present and past storylines. However, the killer is underdeveloped; as he's more of a passive character, with the focus being on the investigators. And the ending is a bit challenging; delving into some uncomfortable morally gray areas. Yet overall, Secret In Their Eyes is an extremely provocative and enthralling crime drama.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer


Intrigue and melodrama abound with the Secret in Their Eyes, a film that is told earnestly through flashbacks and present day-all centering on the inexplicable abduction and murder of a Terrorism Task Force Agent's daughter. It's a film that relies heavily on dialogue, which was good, and high stakes drama when suspects are determined then let go for political reasons. The film is thus a vehicle for many things-politics and the war on terror, revenge, and grief. It has a terrific ensemble cast that all interact well with each-other. It's a film that is good, yet never quite as good as it thinks it is. It gets too clever with its plot mechanisms-often losing the sight of the logistics of the crime to where the audience becomes confounded by the motives, even if we're still interested in the "who done it" aspect of the film. The acting can also be over-the-top, and there are many parts where the film seems to be trying too hard. That said, it is very atmospheric, and represents a sort of old school noir that is hard not to get hooked by. 3.5/5 Stars

Jeffrey Meyers
Jeffrey Meyers

Super Reviewer

Although it's a bit slowly paced, the story is exciting, tense and inventive. I did not see the ending coming at me. However, that is partly because the story was quite hard to follow. The story is presented both in the present and 13 years prior. The problem is that it's nearly impossible to tell what is happening now, and what happened 13 years ago. Sure, there a little hints (one character limps now; Ejiofor has a few specks of gray in his hair, though not many), but unless you're constantly doing a detail check, you can easily miss that you have shifted back or forward in time. It's really quite perplexing. In the end, I just gave up and decided if something seemed out of place, then I must have been watching a different timeline 10 minutes ago. The performances were all strong and nuanced -- likely the best I've seen from Kidman. But even the best performances did not make the timeline easy to follow.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

NO MORE DRAMA - My Review of SECRET IN THEIR EYES (3 Stars) It's tough to get a drama made by the Hollywood studios these days. They all want their tentpole comic book movies, sequels, and high concept comedies, leaving one or two slots per year for their prestige, Oscar grabs. And let's face it, David Fincher and Ben Affleck aren't giving up their turns anytime soon. So in these dire times for film lovers who abhor the cookie cutter approach to storytelling, it's commendable that filmmaker Billy Ray (SHATTERED GLASS, BREACH, and the writer of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS) managed to get his film produced at all. Yes, he had to stack the deck by remaking an Academy Award winning film (Argentina's THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES from 2010), employing two Oscar-winning megastars, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman as well as Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, and set it within the pulpy murder mystery thriller genre, but at least it's not BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE IN 3D! Unfortunately, SECRET bombed in its opening weekend, and the Fall's other star-driven dramas (OUR BRAND IS CRISIS and STEVE JOBS to name just two) fared just as poorly, which may mean the death knell for any film without a CGI fight sequence and Stan Lee origins. It just makes me so sad that big, giant event films are the only ones getting people to fill theater seats. Think about the best movies ever made and I'm willing to bet that very few of them would get greenlit in this current culture. Somehow television has been perceived to be the right place for great drama. Now don't get me wrong, SECRET IN THEIR EYES isn't a great movie. I saw the original, and just like that film, the new one suffers from a similarly flat tone and often sluggish pacing. Regardless, both have passion and a pretty absorbing, twisting, turning mystery tale to be told. While the former was told largely during Argentina's "Dirty War" of the 70s and 80s and then jumps forward 25 years, the remake juxtaposes the time after 9/11 with present day. In the new version, Ray (Ejiofor), a former investigator returns to the police station with new information on a murder case from 13 years prior. In doing so, he opens up old wounds, including those of his former partner Jess (Roberts) and the District Attorney, Claire (Kidman). (SLIGHT SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH - if you haven't seen the trailer) In 2002, the team was staking out a mosque with the hope of uncovering a terrorist plot. A body is found in a dumpster, which turns out to be Jess' daughter. A cat and mouse hunt for the killer spans the 13 years between the two storylines. (END SPOILER) This is a film about obsession. Ray, feeling guilt about a death, won't stop looking for the killer and he also keeps a flame lit for Claire, his unrequited love. Meanwhile, Jess has her own understandable agenda. While Roberts is remarkable, doing some of the finest work of her career, Ejiofor and Kidman have no chemistry together. Ejiofor tries mightily to coax something/anything out of Kidman, but she seems miscast and a little too icy for the proceedings. We need to see the simmering heat between them so that the eruption during an intense and terrific interrogation scene makes sense. Taken out of context, this scene is one of the film's best, with Kidman blazing through it with feral intensity. She just didn't build up to it with the kind of care she has usually demonstrated in previous work. Roberts, however, nails her role as a sunken, depressed woman who wrestles with how to live a life after a terrible tragedy. Technically, this is a beautifully made film, with Roberts' husband Danny Moder's cinematography giving it a layered, film noir look. One showy shot at a baseball stadium, which begins an exciting chase sequence, is a knockout in particular. The supporting cast, which includes Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, and Michael Kelly, does fine work, but Joe Cole, in duel roles, stands out. With very little screen time, he makes a haunting impact and impresses with his immersion into these characters. Billy Ray is a good filmmaker. He isn't a visionary, and his aesthetic doesn't produce a lot of memorable images, but he does have passion and something to say. His next foray is in television with a remake of THE LAST TYCOON. I'm grateful that there are opportunities for challenging work in tv but lament the fact that movie theaters have become a place solely for big extravaganzas. SECRET IN THEIR EYES, like the original, takes some surprising twists and turns, and ultimately has something provocative to say about justice. Do we ever really feel it when a perpetrator is caught? Does grieving end? Since a film like this, flawed as it may be, will have a harder and harder time reaching a cinema screen, I say that the grieving on my part will never end.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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