Secret in Their Eyes

Director: Billy Ray (2016)

In my eyes there’s far too little mystery in this plodding political pot boiler.

The star of 12 Years A Slave (2014) Chiwetel Ejiofor is now 13 years an investigator, that’s the time his character Ray has spent hunting for a killer.

As talented as the public school educated British actor is, he fails to convince as a blue collar New York cop.

Ray’s convinced he’s found the man responsible for the murder of the daughter of former colleague Jess.

Julia Roberts performance has been described as ‘brave’, meaning she wears no make up.

To borrow Stephen Fry’s ungentlemanly phrase from the Baftas, she looks, albeit intentionally, like a bag lady.

Nicole Kidman’s glamorous District Attorney is reluctant to jeopardise her career by reopening the case on the basis Ray’s flimsy evidence.

There are corruption, confessions, chases, interrogations, break ins and some waffle about baseball.

The story switches between two years, most of what happens in 2002 lacks tension and 2015 is too concerned with Ray trying to resolve a romantic obsession.

The top drawer cast are on great form and none disappoint as in turn they’re granted the space to demonstrate their considerable ability.

But we’re not terribly invested in the characters and the script isn’t interested in the plot and moments of humour are misjudged as the cast strive to carry weighty themes.

Based on an Argentine film The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) it’s been heavily retooled for the American market.

There’s an effectively created mood of paranoia and uncertainty in the aftermath of 9/11.

Addressing the attacks’ effect on the American psyche, the script demands the US bury its grief and stop feeling guilty over allowing it to occur.

Arguing the US must in future deliver swift and terminal justice to wrong doers is an insular and biblical view point which may play better across the pond than over here.

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