Secret in Their Eyes Blu-ray Review
It’s 2002 and counter-terrorism teams are on high alert, spying on threats and watching countless hours of footage that could lead to arrests and more. One afternoon, investigators Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN) and Jess Cobb (Julia Roberts, 2013’s AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) are called to the scene after a body is found chucked into a dumpster outside of a mosque. The location sounds bells, but it is soon revealed that the murder is not tied to terrorism. The corpse is that of Carolyn, Jess’ daughter.
Jump ahead thirteen years later and the case is still unsolved. Ray pays a visit to a former coworker, Claire Sloan (Nicole Kidman, who recently earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination for her turn as Grace Kelly in GRACE OF MONACO), now a prominent district attorney. He has also called in Jess, visibly worn from over a decade of sorrow and stress, to tell her what he knows now: “I found him.” Jess has since retreated from the city, living a quiet life as best she can. But with the case close to being reopened, she can’t help involvement, especially if it’s going to be under the radar.
SECRET IN THEIR EYES jumps back and forth from 2002 to the present day, splitting its time between the immediate aftermath of the murder and the reinvestigation. This should provide a well-rounded account of what has happened and what will happen, but really it may be a challenge for the audience to get invested at all. SECRET IN THEIR EYES—which is based on the Argentinian novel El secreto de sus Ojos, previously adapted into 2009’s THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film—simply doesn’t have a compelling story. Variations of the same plot have been told far too many times. It’s so worn that this is the sort of movie that hinges on its twist, which isn’t all that difficult to spot considering how one of the main characters acts throughout.
Writer/director Billy Ray has some intriguing works under his belt with 2003’s SHATTERED GLASS, about shamed journalist Stephen Glass, and 2007’s BREACH, starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe. (He has earned writing credits, including THE HUNGER GAMES and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, which earned him an Oscar nod.) His third feature as director is an overall dud, a thriller that lacks thrills.
The main draw of SECRET IN THEIR EYES for many will be the cast. They have certainly added some familiarity to the poster, but they have gone to waste in the product. Here are Nicole Kidman (who doesn’t get the quality of roles she used to/should) and Chiwetel Ejifor (who should know better than to take thin roles like this) going through the motions, while Julia Roberts sheds just enough tears to likely trick her usual fans into thinking this is a complex performance.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong throughout, but the colors are fairly muted and so unremarkable.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Dialogue is clean and the sounds effects add to the atmosphere.
Feature commentary with director/screenwriter Billy Ray and producer Mark Johnson: Ray and Johnson offer a fine commentary in which they discuss the production, cast, themes, differences from the original and more.
Adapting the Story for Today’s World (1:59): This featurette briefly looks at “American version” of the Argentinian original.
Julia Roberts Discusses Her Most Challenging Role (3:23): Robert and Ray talk about the emotional scene in which she finds her daughter’s corpse.