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Billy Ray
Chiwetel Ojiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina
Writing Credits:
Billy Ray

A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,652,996 on 2,392 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/23/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director/Screenwriter Billy Ray and Producer Mark Johnson
• “Adapting the Story For Today’s World” Featurette
• “Julia Roberts Discusses Her Most Challenging Role” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Secret In Their Eyes [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 14, 2016)

Based on a 2009 film from Argentina, 2015’s Secret In Their Eyes brings in a notable cast. Scenes in early 2002 introduce us to FBI agent Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ojiofor) and police detective Jess Cobb (Julia Roberts), both of whom work on a joint FBI/LAPD counter-terrorism task force. When Ray and Jess follow an anonymous tip about a girl who was raped and murdered, they’re shocked to learn that it’s Jess’s teenage daughter Carolyn (Zoe Graham).

This splits up the team and sends us ahead to 2015. Now chief of security for the New York Mets, Ray comes back to Los Angeles and reunites with Jess and LA District Attorney Claire Sloan (Nicole Kidman). No one ever convicted Carolyn’s killer, but Ray thinks he found the culprit. This leads all involved on a grim journey that re-awakens ghosts from the past.

My synopsis makes it sound like the movie starts in 2002, completes all the information about that period and then heads to 2015. That’s not the case, as instead, Secret flits from 2015 to 2002 and back again, a technique I don’t think works.

I probably should enjoy the way the movie shifts between eras, as that shows more ambition than the traditional method, but it just leads to unnecessary audience confusion. I guess the filmmakers think the narrative methods will add intrigue, but I think these shifts among eras muddy the waters.

The leaps from 2002 to 2015 and back again also mean the audience knows too much of the story in advance. Since we’re aware that the alleged perpetrator will escape prosecution, most of the movie feels like endless lead-up. The 2002 scenes become tedious, as they make us wait too long to get where we want to go.

Maybe none of this narrative murkiness matters, as perhaps Secret is more psychological drama than police procedural. I can swallow that, but even so, the film falters. It doesn’t manage to get inside its characters’ heads in a particularly dynamic manner, and it leaves us without much insight.

A lot of this stems from the nature of the film’s finish. By the time the tale concludes, I find it tough to view Secret as much more than an ending with a movie attached. Secret gives us a “surprise” finale, one that seems unconvincing and unsatisfying, but one that’s “big” enough that it appears the filmmakers figured it was enough to make us forget the tedium of the prior 100 minutes.

It doesn’t. Secret comes with the material to turn into a tight, involving thriller, but its awkward storytelling choices and essential lack of depth handicap it. The end result feels surprisingly thin and unemotional.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Secret In Their Eyes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transferred looked pretty good.

Sharpness was fine. A little softness occurred in some wide shots, but those instances didn’t become a concern. Overall definition seemed positive. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked apparent edge haloes or other artifacts. I also saw no print flaws, as the movie always seemed clean.

In terms of colors, Secret opted for a cool palette that emphasized teals and tans. While not exciting, the colors looked fine within the design parameters. In addition, blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots were decent; some could be a bit dense, but they weren’t bad. This was a generally positive presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added breadth to the experience. The movie didn’t deliver a rock-em-sock-em soundscape, but it managed to open up well, especially when it dealt with street scenes; those showed a nice sense of the atmosphere.

A few louder sequences made more dynamic use of the spectrum, but those didn’t pop up with great frequency. Instead, the emphasis on general environment remained, and that was fine. I felt the soundfield fit the material.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other flaws. Music sounded full and dynamic, while effects came across as accurate and clear. All of this suited the film and earned a solid “B”.

The disc comes with a smattering of extras, and these open with an audio commentary from director/screenwriter Billy Ray and producer Mark Johnson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the original movie and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, and related domains.

Ray does most of the heavy lifting here, and I’m fine with that, as he gives us a good look at the project. We find a nice array of details and receive a solid overview of the production. This ends up as a satisfying commentary.

Two featurettes follow. Adapting the Story For Today’s World lasts one minute, 59 seconds and offers info from Ray, El Secreto de Sus Ojos executive producer Juan Jose Campanella, and actors Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ojiofor, and Nicole Kidman, “World” tells us a little about bringing the American remake to the screen. It offers nothing more than a glorified trailer.

Julia Roberts Discusses Her Most Challenging Role goes for three minutes, 23 seconds and features notes from Roberts and Ray. We get a few thoughts about Roberts’ approach to a key movie scene. It contains a bit more detail than the superficial “World”, but it still exists mainly as a promo piece.

The disc opens with ads for Desierto, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs, Spotlight, Suffragette and Trumbo. No trailer for Secret shows up here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Secret. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With a strong cast and an intriguing story, I hoped to get a tight, deep thriller from Secret In Their Eyes. Instead, problematic storytelling choices make it inconsistent and plodding. The Blu-ray delivers mostly good picture and audio along with a few supplements led by an informative audio commentary. The movie ends up as a definite disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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