MOVIE REVIEW: SECRET IN THEIR EYES (2015)

Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts
Director: Billy Ray

Normally I will start my movie reviews with a witty leading paragraph, or I’ll give a basic summary of the movie before I share my opinions. This time I’ve decided to jump in head-first because I feel it’s my duty to save the American people. You would think that a movie with Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, Academy Award winner Julia Roberts, and Academy Award nominee Chewitel Ejiofor would be a movie worth watching, but in this case you would be wrong. Secret in Their Eyes has a very engaging trailer but be warned: this movie is a bore. Good grief.

Secret inTheir Eyes movie poster

Look at the poster. Doesn’t it look cool? We have a nice skyline…not sure what city that is but I like it. Also the emphasis on the eyes of the main actors- pretty cool. And then watch this trailer, which has much better editing and suspense compared to the full length movie:

So the basic premise is that investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) arrives to a crime scene in year 2002 with one of her partners, Ray Kasten (Ejiofor). A young woman has been brutally raped and murdered, and her body was carelessly discarded in a dumpster near a mosque. The young woman is Cobb’s daughter, and for the remainder of the movie Cobbs has a dull, glassy-eyed, zombified look on her face. Fast forward to 2015 and we learn that Kasten has dedicated the past 13 years to looking at thousands of mugshots to find a match of a guy he hunted down in 2002. Nicole Kidman plays district attorney Claire Sloan, but she’s useless in the workplace because she only serves as Kasten’s love interest. So there you have it, my summary of the movie that was neatly wrapped into several minutes of various trailers that you can find on YouTube.

My biggest complaint is the constant time skipping between 2002 when the crime first happened, and then the scenes from 2015 when the case has been unofficially reopened by Kasten, Cobb, and Sloan. I spent so much time trying to figure out which year I was in and the only way to tell is that Kasten has graying sideburns in 2015. But sometimes it was hard to see his sideburns so I just sat in my seat and accepted the confusion in my life.

I was also disappointed to see Nicole Kidman only play a hapless love interest for Ejiofor. I believe Kidman is so much better than this. She gazes into Ejiofor’s eyes and then disappears until it’s time to gaze into his eyes again. And these lovey dovey scenes weren’t even believable because there wasn’t any emotional development between the characters. When they first met she was already engaged to another man, and between 2002 and 2015 they didn’t talk at all, yet when they reconnect in 2015 we’re supposed to believe they are soulmates.

Lastly, the biggest disappointment was the predictable formula of the storyline. There were a couple of standard foot chases, the standard argument between the investigator who wants to keep the case open and the district attorney who believes there isn’t enough evidence to justify the resources needed to keep going, and I yawned when Kasten tried to play the tough cop when it was time to question the suspect.

Overall I think Secret in Their Eyes is a straight to Redbox movie that only played in theaters because of the talented actors who, for some reason, agreed to star in this movie. If you realize that you’ve taken a nap while watching this movie just remember that I warned you!

Did you see Secret in Their Eyes? Am I being too harsh? Let me know in the comments!


Dallas International Film Festival reveals full 2016 schedule

Still from White Girl. Photo from Bank Street Films website.

Still from White Girl. Photo from Bank Street Films website.

Monday is already shaping up to be the best day of this week as The Dallas Film Society unveils the full schedule for the 10th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival. The schedule boasts 63 features and 50 shorts, with nine films making their world premieres at DIFF. Cinematographer Ed Lachman (2015’s Carol is one of his latest films) will receive the Dallas Star Award and director Monte Hellman (Road to Nowhere) will receive the inaugural L.M. “Kit” Carson Maverick Award.

I had a great time at the 2015 festival and I can’t wait to go back this year! There’s a couple of movies that I’m very excited to see, such as Elizabeth Wood’s White Girl, which is about a New York freshman who sells her boyfriend’s stash of drugs after he’s arrested for drug dealing, and Diego Luna’s Mr. Pig, a movie about fatherhood starring Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph.

You can click here to view the entire list of movies: 2016 DIFF films

The Dallas International Film Festival runs from April 14-24, and online ticket sales will begin Monday, March 21 for Dallas Film Society members, and tickets will open to the public on Thursday, March 24. You can find more information at the official website, http://diff2016.dallasfilm.org.

I’ll see you in April!