The Secret in Their Eyes is a film from Argentina which won the Oscar in 2009 for Best Foreign Language Film. However, I must admit that I was unaware of it until it cropped up on the satellite movie schedule. A glowing description prompted me to give it a try – and I was really glad that I did.
The story is set partly in the past and partly in the present. In the present, a retired cop has a call on a woman judge he used to work with. He explains that he has turned into a novel his recollections of a case that obsessed him, and which clearly had an impact on his relationship with the (very attractive) judge.
We revisit the past to find out about the cold case. A young married woman was brutally raped and murdered. The cop was fascinated by the fact that her husband, a quiet bank clerk, was so utterly devoted to her. He becomes determined to track down the killer and, assisted by an alcoholic colleague, he does just that. But it is impossible to secure a conviction, and after his colleague is murdered, the cop relocates for his own safety, and in the process loses touch with the woman he loves.
This is a film about the fine line between passion and obsession. The consequences of obsession, it is clear from the story, can be hugely destructive. But with passion, the message seems to be – seize the moment. It is a powerful drama, with a compelling late twist which involves the husband of the murdered woman in a very unexpected way. I can well understand why this film won an Oscar, and it certainly is well worth watching.