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Secret in Their Eyes review: Paranoia and fear after 9/11 spins web of intrigue

By Staff Reporter

Published 26/02/2016

Hollywood reboot: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman star in dark thriller Secret in Their Eyes
Hollywood reboot: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman star in dark thriller Secret in Their Eyes

Hollywood has never been shy about resetting the delicate, glittering jewels of foreign cinema as gaudy showcases for A-list stars.

Henri-Georges Clouzot's taut 1955 thriller Les Diaboliques was reborn as a hoary 1996 potboiler starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani, and Wim Wenders' seminal meditation of mortality, Wings Of Desire, was saturated in sickly sentiment for the 1998 update City Of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.

The smouldering French thriller Anthony Zimmer took on a lacklustre second life as The Tourist pairing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, while Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 cult classic Oldboy was an exercise in bludgeoning violence.

When Argentinian writer-director Juan Jose Campanella won the Oscar for his serpentine 2009 thriller El Secreto De Sus Ojos, it was only a matter of time before an English-language version surfaced.

The sturdy structure and hairpin twists remain firmly in place in Secret in Their Eyes, but the original film's politically charged setting - the volatile period before Argentina's Dirty War - has been replaced by the paranoia and fear that percolated across America in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

In 2002 Los Angeles, FBI counter-terrorism officer Ray Karsten (Chiwetel Ejiofor) assesses possible threats emanating from a local mosque.

He is called to a crime scene close to the mosque and identifies the raped and mutilated body of a girl in a dumpster as Caroline Cobb (Zoe Graham), the daughter of his good friend, Jessica Cobb (Julia Roberts), who works as an investigator for district attorney Martin Morales (Alfred Molina). From there a dark web of intrigue unfolds.

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph

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