Juan José Campanella’s El Secreto de Sus Ojos / The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) An Argentinian/Spanish Thriller

Juan José Campanella’s movie El Secreto de Sus Ojos aka The Secret in Their Eyes is an unusual thriller. It’s a Argentinian/Spanish co production, based on Eduardo Sacheri’s novel El Secreto de Sus Ojos.

The story is told in an unusual way, takes many twists and turns and offers an astonishing and thought-provoking ending.

Benjamín Espósito is a retired Argentinian federal agent. He has started to write a novel about a case that happened many years ago and that took an unsatisfactory turn. Liliana Coloto, a beautiful young woman, was brutally raped and murdered in her own apartment. Although Espósito and his colleague probably found the killer, the man was let go.

Espósito writes his novel for many reasons, one of which is giving an ending to something that didn’t have one. In order to achieve this, he revisits the case and the people who were involved.

Espósito pays a visit to the former chief of the department, Irene Menéndez-Hastings and tells her about his plans to write a novel about the case. She isn’t very keen on the idea. The case and its outcome were too upsetting. And there may be other reasons why she doesn’t want to remember what happened so many years ago.

The story of the case is told in flash backs and bit by bit we see what happened, how the people involved in the investigation lived, how they got emotionally involved in the case. Espósito cares a lot about Liliana’s husband. The man is devastated by the loss and the brutality of the crime and tries to find the murderer on his own.

In a conversation between Liliana’s husband and Espósito, Liliana’s husband says that he wouldn’t want the man to be executed. Capital punishment would be much too merciful.

I liked this movie a lot, it’s very melancholic, manages to interweave different story lines and offers a few interesting themes like writing as a means to find closure,  second chances, capital punishment and justice. The characters are very complex and interesting.

The movie is mysterious for a long time but I can assure you that everything is resolved in the end, all the loose ends will be tied together.

I’m not always tempted to read a novel after having watched a movie but it in this case I’m really curious. Has any one read the Spanish original? The English translation The Secret in Their Eyes will be out soon as well.