The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) - dir. Juan Jose Campanella
Two things jumped out at me as I was watching this film: first and foremost is Felix Monti’s absolutely astonishing cinematography. This absolutely should have been on my Top 50 Cinematographic Films list. No questions. There’s one scene in particular in which Benjamin Esposito (the wonderful Ricardo Darin [he’s just so damn easy to root for]) goes into Irene Hastings’ (Soledad Villamil) office and there’s a rose on her desk. The two sat across from each other having a discussion… now most films would have done one establishing shot, then picked a pleasant framing for Darin showing him with power, then an exact reverse angle showing Villamil (probably with some extra cleavage)… but that’s not how it went. Instead, Monti spun around the rose, keeping it directly over the speaker’s heart, as he moved around the room, often including the majority of Irene’s office, and it was never the same shot twice. It’s just one example but it was powerful filmmaking.
The second bit that stood out was the organic unrequited love story. Make no mistakes, El Secreto de Sus Ojos is a thriller, it’s actually a rather dark and twisting thriller, but it still has a happy ending (in some respects) and it’s not at all like the typical Hollywood endings we’re used to. It’s organic, and it feels right, exactly where it is. This film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars some years back and I’m a little ashamed I’m only just seeing it, so those are two examples from a damn-near flawless film.