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Movie Review

The Secret in Their Eyes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references.

Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime Mystery Thriller Remake
Length:
1 hr. 51 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
November 20, 2015 (wide—2,400+ theaters)
DVD: February 23, 2016
Copyright, STX Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment Copyright, STX Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, STX Entertainment

the enduring, destructive effects of revenge (personal vengeance) on the human soul

damaging effects of guilt, regret and hate

anger in the Bible


sin and human depravity

murder and death in the Bible

rape victims’ stories

shame and rape


need for justice and the justice of God

need for God’s grace and forgiveness of sin

Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Featuring: Julia RobertsJess
Nicole KidmanClaire
Chiwetel EjioforRay
Dean Norris … Bumpy
Michael Kelly … Siefert
Lyndon Smith … Kit
Joe Cole … Marzin / Beckwith
Don Harvey … Fierro
more »
Director: Billy Ray—screenwriter of “The Hunger Games” (2012), “Captain Phillips” (2013)
Producer: Gran Via Productions
IM Global
more »
Distributor: STX Entertainment

This motion picture is an English language remake of 2009’s foreign film Oscar® winner “El Secreto De Sus Ojos.”

The film opens up with FBI investigator Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) looking through several pictures of male suspects and criminals, until he sees what he believes is a match. He walks into the office of his District Attorney supervisor Claire (Nicole Kidman), and it is obvious that they have a history together. We then flashback to 13 years prior, months after 9/11, where we meet Jess (Julia Roberts) and a younger Ray; they are part of a counter terrorist task force. Claire is a new prosecutor who joins the team. A call comes in regarding a female body found in a dumpster near a mosque that has been under surveillance. Jess and Ray go to investigate, only to find the girl in the dumpster is Jess’s only daughter Carolyn.

The most likely suspect is quickly narrowed down, but with the threat of terrorism taking precedent, the suspect is quickly released, and Ray spends the next 13 years trying to bring him back to face justice.

Julia Roberts does a great job as a grieving mother; there is a scene where she discovers the body of her daughter that made me tear up as a mom. Nicole Kidman plays her role pretty much by the book, her character is straightforward with minor complexities, and she portrays her character as such. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s acting is good; I believed his role as an investigator that couldn’t give up on a case, and together the actors work very well together.

The plot is strong, making an interesting crime thriller. The repeated flashbacks keep up the storyline and the twist is satisfactory.

There is some objectionable content. There is talk of a brutal murder of a young girl, there’s talk of rape, with pictures, cleavage is shown. There is swearing and 13 misuses of God’s names.

The whole film centers around justice, justice for Carolyn the young girl killed in the film. When the man-made system fails, where do we get our justice from? The Bible says that vengeance is God’s and only His. Our God is a loving God, but he is also a just God, and that’s why He must judge and punish sin, all sin, and it’s only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved from His righteous judgment.

As for a recommendation for this film, it’s a toss up. The acting and plot is decent, but there is content that is disturbing. Overall, the film deals with the pursuit of justice over a long period of time, and what effects that has on one’s spirit and body. The film’s end left me with an unsettling feeling of satisfaction, and the question of “was it worth it?” The film could possibly be used as a starting point in counselling someone on the ultimate emptiness of human justice and revenge (personal vengance), God’s final judgment, and where they can find true comfort, peace and eternal safety.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Heavy—“Jesus Christ” (1), “Jesus” (3), “Christ” (1), “G*d-damn” (4), “God” (1), “Oh G*d” (1), “damn” (2), “hell” (9), f-word (1), vulgar sexual words (5), “a**-hole” (4), “a**” (4), SOB (4), s-words (5) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative
Negative—I was disappointed by this movie. It was anticlimactic, for one, and hard to watch, for another. It lasted much too long. I don’t remember how much language was in it, a pretty average amount for a PG-13 rating, I guess… but the sexual content is a different story. Obviously, this is a movie about a mother desperate for revenge on her daughter’s rapist and murderer, so some is to be expected. Almost as soon as the movie starts, one of the detectives is having “flash backs” on the girls attack… a fist is grabbing her hair as she screams and struggles. The next flash (all of this in quick succession) is similar, but she does have something on (a white shirt, and overalls, if I remember right). After that, we see her body being flopped over, and he walks away with the gun… I think she’s covered here, so this wasn’t a big thing (other than the—obvious—fact that she was being viciously attacked).

Later, when they find her body in the dumpster, you see a tiny bit of her lower butt cheek, but just one side. She’s covered otherwise. Later on (way later) the detective pops a button on her blouse, and she makes an effort to hold it together… but once they find their first suspect, she uses a “we’ll get you to talk by comparing you and the “hunk” rapist” tactic. She starts talking about how the rapist needed to be relatively strong to hold her down during struggle, how “her vagina had been stretched to 9 inches” and “you’re looking for a hammer, not a peanut”.

I was disgusted, but thought they were finished. But it focuses on his face, and he is staring openly at her exposed chest, breathing heavily. He stands up when she walks away, and starts unzipping and unbuttoning his pants. At this point, I fast forwarded the scene… I ended up in the elevator, and from what I could tell, he had attacked her. Whether sexually or to show how close his strength was to the rapist… I don’t know. Either way, I felt sick to my stomach.

Through the whole movie, the main detective is not-so-subtly hiding his feelings for the married detective… nothing ever happens, other than them holding hands. There’s not much violence in this movie (aside from the subject matter), so no worries there. The whole movie put a boring, disgusting taste in my mouth. Please don’t waste your time and money on this piece of cr*p.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Liv, age 19 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—The fact that this film features disturbing content (example rape) helps me to want to avoid this movie, it’s obviously dark and disturbing, why does Hollywood need to keep making such darkness?! There’s already real life crime shows out there about rape and murder, and there’s the current fictional show “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit” which is based on rape, isn’t that enough?! Do we need to view more evilness depicted?! Why anyone Christian and non-Christian would want to watch this movie is beyond me.
—Ace, age 32 (United Kingdom)

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