Wednesday, June 1, 2011

El Secreto de Sus Ojos

In 2009 one of the most beautiful movies was made by Jose Juan Campanella featuring Benjamin Esposito a retired legal counselor (Ricardo Darin) seeking closure for an unsolved homicide/rape case that he worked on 25 years ago with his superior, Irene Mendez (Soledad Villamil), and colleague Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella). "The Secret in Their Eyes" is based on the novel "La pregunta de sus ojos" written by Eduardo Sacheri.

The story is told with two parallel timelines from the first lines of Esposito attempting to write a novel of the incidents 25 years ago; to the brutal incident depicted on the screen. As the story unfolds the surviving spouse of the incident, Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago) has some of the most powerful and emotional lines in the film. While Esposito and Sandoval work the case the comic element from Sandoval and his drinking come through just enough without discounting the significance of the case. The lead suspect in the case is Isidoro Gomez (Javier Godino) and without being overly cliche the look in the actors eyes is very intense.

An element of debate within the film is the death sentence or the life without parole. It is a question that only the loved ones that have lost someone to such a gruesome event can honestly answer. However, the film finds a way to delicately attempt at explaining how and why there should only be one answer. In the film the crime is rape and homicide resulting in life without the option for the death penalty. The thought of the death penalty as retribution is often argued, but without the convicted being raped and beaten to death is it truly retribution. The death penalty is a simple injection followed by a permanent nap. For those that have lost a loved one that would almost seem like an alternative they would be willing to trade for themselves. Instead the film falls to the alternative of letting the convicted grow old, living a life full of nothing.

The film received the Oscar for best foreign film and if it wasn't for being a foreign film would have earned a best actor nomination for Ricardo Darin and possibly an adapted screenplay award. A line that stuck with me came towards the end of the film between Esposito and Morales, "Choose carefully, because memories are all we end up with. At least pick the nice ones." I think the lesson that the movie gives is that the most complicated things we love are worth it, even if it means living. The film is absolutely beautiful and is a highly recommended 5 Quacks for all of you.

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