- Speaking Eyes 8/19/2009 12:00:00 AM by billion_mucks
"El Secreto de sus Ojos" hit me with unspeakable strength. I didn't expect to like it so much, so I owe a review to those in analysis measures before seeing it or those interested in some opinion.
First off, Campanella works with flawless effort all of the technical aspects of the film. It even starts with a double exposure effect, mixed with some sad shots of a beautiful Buenos Aires that hints the spectacle ahead of us. One shot especially, from a chopper in a soccer field edited with a crane shot is breathtaking. Nothing to envy from Hollywood upper class.
But the main strength of the movie comes from the powerful narrative dominion Director Campanella has over characters, spaces and silences. Many moments are coldly tense, scary and very, very intense. This crossover from genres by Campanella couldn't have been better. Crime stories often fall in common places, this one relies on the fragile psychological state of the audience to draw all of it's intense dialog, acting and scenes.
I cannot stop recommending it, Argentina can open it's market with movies such as this. It has many, many memorable moments, it interwines comedy perfectly and it is doubtful you will instantly forget it, as it is so well constructed. See it if you can!
- as good as anything out there 12/4/2009 12:00:00 AM by tjdinvt
Simply put, this is one of the finest films I've ever seen. I don't say that lightly, I don't exaggerate when it comes to talking about movies -- but everything about this one, from the acting to the writing, to the camera work, to the directorial decisions, is grade A. The story deals with deep matters, and it does so one step at a time, with a plot that moves steadily forward, gathering force, substance and intensity, not settling for easy answers or plot points, not cutting corners. The characters are complicated, interesting, believable, flawed, funny, tragic and deeply human.
I prefer not to get specific about what happens -- I mostly want to try to get across the quality of this bugger. So I'll say it again: it's one of the best films I've ever seen, as good as anything out there. If there's any justice, a lot of people will see it.
- Extraordinary Film 9/6/2009 12:00:00 AM by bicgus1
Last night I went to watch this flick, and I must say that all in all, I ended up quite surprised because of it's impressive quality. Taking into account that I was already expecting superior film, indeed, it came out to be even more outstanding than I thought, mainly because of the rare combination of noir genre with very precise and measured funny moments and especially an incredibly faithful description of the Argentine system of justice and the characters that compose it. This last element is just perfect. The movie keeps your attention all the time -no decays at all- and the set design is also great, to such extent that it left me wondering what the tricks of the trade employed to achieve such similarity are. Foreign watchers might not fully understand some great details that are mainly local, but anyway they will surely enjoy the thrilling aspects of the film. It would be enough for them to say that almost all this locale's are just true, no matter how incredible they might look.
- This is what movies should always be 10/26/2009 12:00:00 AM by sanarg
This is it. A film that you can't get your eyes off until lights are back on... and then it's still difficult to stand up. A thriller, with lovable main characters, that makes you smile and think. A movie about a crime and a love. It has one of best chase scenes I've ever seen, involving what seems to be real complex camera work, something that could've been part of a Lord of the Rings movie maybe (at least that is what it looked like from my seat). Simply amazing. The acting is perfect. The pace is perfect. The ending couldn't be better (and we have seen so many great films that spoil it all at the end!).
Just go see it and enjoy what cinema should always be. It's a 10 out of 10.
- The secret of Juan José 8/15/2009 12:00:00 AM by jpschapira
In my country, Juan José Campanella is synonym of 'cinema of the highest order'. The director works in USA and from time to time he brings a new film. We know, dramatically, what we're going to watch: Ricardo Darín in an important role, a lot of sentimentalism, references to the country's past, a love story. And technically, if it's the highest order, there won't be any complaints. When the film ended, the people in the movie theater started clapping.
"El secreto de sus ojos" tells the story of Benjamín Esposito (Darín) and his need to tell the story of a case that wasn't completely solved 25 years ago and had an important impact in his life. A woman raped and killed and a husband with the surname Morales (Pablo Rago) who went every day to every train station in Buenos Aires to see if he could find the killer. "You have to see his eyes; they are in a state of pure love", Benjamín professes in front of Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil); his boss and the woman he loves.
There are things we never forget, Campanella knows well, and that might be the film's most important declaration. We expect from the director a powerful love that grows with the years, as we saw with Darín and Villamil in "El mismo amor, la misma lluvia"; we expect characters with inner ghosts, things to hide and things to hold on to; we expect total control over the language of the environment (in "El mismo amor..." it was a magazine staff, in "Luna de Avellaneda" the neighborhood club), a knowledge of the customs and the way of speaking of characters that makes for day-to-day comedy. In this aspect, the casting of Guillermo Francella as Pablo Sandoval is crucial. Taking the place of the best friend role always in charge of Fernando Blanco, the comedian plays a drunk with a lot of respect for friendship. His change of look, the measurement of his composition and how he enlightens it with comic touches make for one of the year's best performances.
That's about everything we can expect. The fact is "El secreto de sus ojos" is a very good movie because there are things we don't see coming. The film contains a treatment of a police investigation that hasn't been seen in our cinema for years. In his riskiest picture, Campanella flirts with thriller, mystery and real action (handy-cam included); he acquires true tension and a sequence in a soccer stadium is the best example of it. He understands when silence is required and when the loneliness of the characters –each of them with a rich, mysterious private and inner world- must be seen fully. It's quite embarrassing in fact, because Darín as a director tried to achieve something like that with "La se?al". Even though it's obvious Campanella took no inspiration from that film, everything that went wrong there can be seen here, improved. And Soledad Villamil is no femme fatale. I take a risk, however, and defy you to tell me if, because of image and makeup resemblance, and disposition of images and voice in off, the movie towards the finish line doesn't take direct inspiration from Chris Nolan's "The Prestige". It's quoting it somehow, at least.
It's very moving to watch excellent performances from recognized actors. We've seen them on screen so much, we know what they do, we admire them and respect them and, as with Campanella, we tend to know what to expect. However, sometimes they enchant us with every face in every frame, with every word in every conversation. I'm trying to explain to you the feeling of what Villamil and Darín do in this film: it's enchanting and contagious, purely human (as it occurred in "El mismo amor..."), but at the same time moving, simply because they're not unprofessional actors that fit in the look of the film, or young actors with expressive faces, or newcomers that take our breath away: they are Ricardo Darín and Soledad Villamil. Campanella has a lot to do with this, because he knows how to make them work together and he made an effort so they would not repeat what they had given us in the other film I've mentioned.
The fact that Fernando Castets didn't write the film calls our attention; the script was written by the director and Eduardo Sacheri. It also calls our attention that Campanella himself edited the movie. Is this film-making of the highest order? I believe so, in our country, and speaking of something commercially successful too. It's the only movie seen by many people that can generate interest in revising the director's previous work and, who knows, maybe other national pieces.