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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 129 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): Spanish/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella
Directed by: Juan Jose Campanella
Music by: Jusid-Kauderer
Written by: Eduardo Sacheri & Juan Jose Campanella
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 21, 2010







"I Fear"



Film Synopsis:


Recently retired criminal court investigator Benjamin (Ricardo Darin), decides to write a novel based on a twenty-five year old unresolved rape and murder case, which still haunts him. Sharing his plans with Irene (Soledad Villamil), the beautiful judge and former colleague he has secretly been in love with for years, Benjamin's initial involvement with the case is shown through flashbacks, as he sets out to identify the murderer. But Benjamin's search for the truth will put him at the center of a judicial nightmare, as the mystery of the heinous crime continues to unfold in the present, testing the limits of a man seeking justice and personal fulfillment at last.



My Take:

Based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri The secret in their eyes is an interesting sort of parallel as it tells two stories. One is a romance and the other is criminal investigation. I describe it as a parallel of sorts because to be a true parallel the two wouldn't converge. In reality the elements that do crossover have little to do with the outcome but neither can properly exist without the other. The film begins with a briefly narrated snippet that depicts what appear to be two lovers. The man is on a train while the woman stands on the train platform watching the train pull off. She begins to run after the train as the narration and imagery trails off. Things switch to the story's present with Benjamin Esposito a retired public prosecutor struggling to put together the beginning of a book he is writing that is based on a 25 year old rape/murder case. With that there is a similar snippet, basked in glowing golden light, involving a young couple. It depicts a radiant young woman (obviously the murder/rape victim) and describes what is to be their last breakfast/morning together. The case's outcome has nagged at him for years and he struggles with aspects of it that never felt fully resolved.

Benjamin stops by to see his ex-boss Irene, who is the equivalent of a district attorney (although she is referred to as your honor), at his old job. It's obvious that Irene and Benjamin are old friends and he tells her about his book, its subject matter and they briefly reacquaint/reminisce. Essentially from that point forward the story moves back and forth flashing back to the mid 1970's and returning to the present (within the story), the late 1990's. Much of the meat of the film takes place in the past as we see how Irene and Benjamin meet, the politics associated with their jobs, and of course the brutal murder/rape scene and how/why Benjamin takes an against all odds interest in solving it. Amidst that is the development of the relationship between Benjamin and Irene. There are obvious boundaries as she is his supervisor however they share a mutual and unspoken attraction that underlies their friendship. With the criminal investigation growing cold and interest from above waning Benjamin comes up with a long shot lead that he and co-worker/best friend Pablo pursue. The outcome leads to discovering not only the truth about the case but to a crossroad for Irene and Benjamin. The path they chose will haunt them for the next 25 years.

The secret in their eyes is a well crafted, engrossing and gratifying film that splits genre lines but never suffers from focus issues or poor pacing. Character development is essential to the story's framework and is excellent. The multi-perspective narrative draws us in by connecting us with the murder/rape victim and establishing a bond between characters that bridge both timelines which derives the most from the film's final moments. Initially the romantic aspects of the story aren't made to feel overtly important but come full circle with an integral role as they speak to the outcome of missed opportunities based upon the fear of emotional risks and the potential of their longstanding effects. The integration of mystery and bolstering of our contempt for the perpetrator of the rape/murder through use of visuals both graphic and subtle are effective and cleverly executed. Over the course of the film we experience solace in the looming idea of redemption, hope in the anticipation of romance, and jarring reality in the depiction of dark events and fallible people that revolve around the violent death of a beautiful young woman. Director Juan Jose Campanella's apt direction is augmented by Felix Monti's superb cinematography and the solid performances by leads Ricardo Darin, and Soledad Villamil. I found this to be an excellent film that's strength lies in its thoroughly fleshed out and compelling story which comes together in an apropos and ultimately satisfying way. Bravo.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for a rape scene, violent images, some graphic nudity and language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 78


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The secret in their eyes comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 Mbps.

The film is portrayed via two subtly different visual styles. The flashback sequences utilize a muted color scheme and slightly scaled back contrast which gives images a flatter less dynamic appearance. When things switch to the present colors have more emphasis with deeper primary focus and bolder use of contrast. Blacks are fairly strong and detail in dark areas and shadowy backgrounds is excellent. Resolution is good overall however due to the nature of the photography definitive sharpness and fine detail perception ebbs and flows. These instances don't completely inhibit the ability to visually resolve the structure of objects within the frame but slightly diminish it. Conversely there were times when images have excellent dimensional depth and sparkling clarity. Grain is present in fine even layers, with the exception of the opening sequence where it is intentionally pronounced. I thought that the look of the film mated quite well with the nature of the story.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivers dialogue that is crisp, tonally descriptive and well articulated. The front three channels handle the bulk of the sound and do so with excellent clarity and imaging. The surround channels and sub see occasional use and appropriately support this dialogue driven presentation with ambient effects and bass reproduction that matched those required by the film's elements.

*CIH users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area. *



Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with director Juan Jose Campanella

  • Behind the scenes of The secret in their eyes - 4 minute featurette

  • Casting The secret in their eyes: auditions - 10 minutes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • BD-Live enabled

  • (HD) Previews: A prophet, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Mimics, The white ribbon, Get low, The pillars of the earth, Please give, Animal kingdom




Final Thoughts:


Based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri The secret in their eyes is a well crafted, engrossing and gratifying film that features a multi-perspective narrative that engages with a rewarding storyline, fleshed out characters and excellent production elements. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony in a technically solid offering that features resplendent high definition video, clear lossless sound and an average set of bonus supplements that are highlighted be a director commentary track. The secret in their eyes on Blu-ray is highly recommended viewing and deserves a spot at the top of your rental queue.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Hello. Did Sony fix their subtitle placement policy on this release, because I own a CIH scope screen. Even their recent releases of foreign films, they all have the problem of "cutting" the subtitles for scope films, half of which end up into the black bar. I do not own a blu ray player with subtitle placement (Oppo BDP-83), but I was wondering if Sony fix their subtitle placement on this release (all subtitles in picture).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor2010 /forum/post/19197455


Hello. Did Sony fix their subtitle placement policy on this release, because I own a CIH scope screen. Even their recent releases of foreign films, they all have the problem of "cutting" the subtitles for scope films, half of which end up into the black bar. I do not own a blu ray player with subtitle placement (Oppo BDP-83), but I was wondering if Sony fix their subtitle placement on this release (all subtitles in picture).

Greetings,


As reported in my review the subtitles appear within the picture. No problem for CIH users.



Regards,
 

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Without giving anything away, this beautiful done movie has one of the best endings I've experienced in recent memory. Loved this film--lay this one on on someone who "doesn't do subtitles" and see how they feel afterward. This film has everything, even some welcome humor to offset the tension from stand-up comic Guillermo Francella. Ricardo Darin is a phenomenal actor--check him out in the con caper Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) and the controversial XXY as well.
 

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A stunningly great film in every respect. I take exception to the low rating for audio. The audio presentation is under-stated to be sure, but quality is high. There are several scenes with completely enveloping surround as well. The music is soft but very high quality. Great audio can be subtle, it doesn't have to smack you in the face. I also think the rating is a bit low for "clarity", this transfer has loads of detail. I'd have given it a 4.5.
 

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I have to own this. You guys have said it all very well...such an excellent movie. After it was over I couldn't put anything else on for at least twenty minutes as the quiet helped soak in all that had happened.

Thanks Ralph for your review, it's been along time since I've been so drawn into a movie that deeply.

Warren
 

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Like Harry Brown, this is another movie that I had never heard of and never would have watched if not for Ralph's review. Also, like Harry Brown, this is one of the best movies I've seen in 2010. Thanks again for your reviews, Ralph.


Not yet noted, but Soledad Villamil provides some stunning eye candy in this movie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad T /forum/post/19289506


Like Harry Brown, this is another movie that I had never heard of and never would have watched if not for Ralph's review. Also, like Harry Brown, this is one of the best movies I've seen in 2010. Thanks again for your reviews, Ralph.


Not yet noted, but Soledad Villamil provides some stunning eye candy in this movie.

Greetings,


You're quite welcome Chad.



Regards,
 

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One of my favorite films this year! A must see. Again Ralph, thank you for the thorough, excellent work with your reviews. Had I not read seen your rating, I may have passed this one over.


I would have given it 5 out of 5 if I didn’t have to read subtitles the entire film, so I dropped it to 4.5 out of 5. It is a let-down to read text the entire film, and not get enough chance to see the actors emotions, or other visual cues. Instead, you are focused on reading in a film with this much rapid dialogue.


This film has a thoroughly engaging story, and keeps your mind working the entire time. Characters were crafted wonderfully, with strong multifaceted angles to their lives. Suppressed love, young love, suspense, intrigue, murder, justice and injustice, mystery and surprise. It is all there.


Your review covers the characters well Ralph, and I particularly thought Ricardo Darin did a masterful job. I have to say that nearly the entire cast was top notch though.


I truly hope this gets a Hollywood remake, with another excellent cast. More people should see this film and enjoy it. The story is top notch.


Picture quality was very good. Flesh tones were spot on, and contrast was good. Detail was not lacking, but depended on scene. Still a very good looking Blu-ray. It is a little hard to judge sound quality, not being able to understand the dialogue, but sound effect other than dialogue was handled nicely.


PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 4.5 out of 5


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan /forum/post/19430418


One of my favorite films this year! A must see. Again Ralph, thank you for the thorough, excellent work with your reviews. Had I not read seen your rating, I may have passed this one over.


I would have given it 5 out of 5 if I didn't have to read subtitles the entire film, so I dropped it to 4.5 out of 5. It is a let-down to read text the entire film, and not get enough chance to see the actors emotions, or other visual cues. Instead, you are focused on reading in a film with this much rapid dialogue.


This film has a thoroughly engaging story, and keeps your mind working the entire time. Characters were crafted wonderfully, with strong multifaceted angles to their lives. Suppressed love, young love, suspense, intrigue, murder, justice and injustice, mystery and surprise. It is all there.


Your review covers the characters well Ralph, and I particularly thought Ricardo Darin did a masterful job. I have to say that nearly the entire cast was top notch though.


I truly hope this gets a Hollywood remake, with another excellent cast. More people should see this film and enjoy it. The story is top notch.


Picture quality was very good. Flesh tones were spot on, and contrast was good. Detail was not lacking, but depended on scene. Still a very good looking Blu-ray. It is a little hard to judge sound quality, not being able to understand the dialogue, but sound effect other than dialogue was handled nicely.


PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 4.5 out of 5


Dan

Greetings,


Glad that you enjoyed it Dan. Thanks for sharing your impressions!




Regards,
 

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Just finished watching this...WOW...what a good film!! I agree with Matt....one of the best endings I've seen in a long while. This is why it's so great to be aware of what is coming out of other countries...If not for the fact that Ralph and others take the time to review these wonderful films and bring them to our attention, I don't know that I'd have ever even heard about it. I thoroughly enjoyed this....thanks Ralph!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa
Just finished watching this...WOW...what a good film!! I agree with Matt....one of the best endings I've seen in a long while. This is why it's so great to be aware of what is coming out of other countries...If not for the fact that Ralph and others take the time to review these wonderful films and bring them to our attention, I don't know that I'd have ever even heard about it. I thoroughly enjoyed this....thanks Ralph!!
Greetings,


Great to hear you enjoyed this one Summa.




Regards,
 
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