Secret in Their Eyes (Blu-ray) (2015)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 23-Mar-2016

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Trailer-x 3 for other films
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 110:51
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Billy Ray
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor
Nicole Kidman
Julia Roberts
Dean Norris
Michael Kelly
Alfred Molina
Joe Cole


Case ?
RPI ? Music Emilo Kanderer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Secret in Their Eyes is a mystery / thriller that takes place in two time periods, thirteen years apart. In 2002 Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor), “Bumpy” Willis (Dean Norris) and Jessica Cobb (Julia Roberts) are part of an FBI anti-terrorist team monitoring the activities of an L.A. mosque. Claire Sloane (Nicole Kidman) has just arrived in L.A. from Philadelphia to become Assistant D.A. to D.A. Martin Morales (Alfred Molina). When the body of a raped and murdered girl is found in a rubbish bin in the building next door to the mosque, the FBI team attend only to discover that the murdered girl is Jessica’s teenage daughter. Morales wants the FBI team to concentrate on the mosque and the possibility of terrorist activity and leave the murder to the police, but Ray is convinced that there is another agenda so he pursues his own inquiries, turning up a suspect, Marzin (Joe Cole), who both Ray and Claire come to believe is the killer. However Marzin is an informer inside the mosque controlled by FBI agent Reg Siefert (Michael Kelly) and is declared to be untouchable. When evidence linking Marzin to the murder is destroyed, he is allowed to go free and disappears.

     Thirteen years later Claire is now DA. Ray has left the FBI and moved to New York but he returns to LA when he believes he has discovered Marzin’s new identity and asks Claire to reopen the case although without new evidence she is doubtful. Jessica is also wary of reopening old wounds but Ray is obsessed and with Bumpy’s help tracks down their suspect. But catching him proves difficult and when they get close things do not turn out quite as Ray expects.

     Secret in Their Eyes is a remake by writer / director Billy Ray of the marvellous film from Argentina, El secreto de sus ojos, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 2010. The cast list of Secret in Their Eyes is impressive but something seems to have been lost in translation: El secreto de sus ojos currently has an approval rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes while Secret in Their Eyes rates 39%. It is not that Secret in Their Eyes is a poor film; it is a competently made thriller, nicely shot by cinematographer Daniel Moder (who is Julia Roberts’s husband) with a low key but beautiful score by Emilo Kanderer, who also scored El secreto de sus ojos. The scripting is tight and there are enough clues scattered throughout the film so that the two twists towards the end are not unexpected, but to me Secret in Their Eyes is just not as engaging as it should have been be.

     It is not clear where the problem lies. Billy Ray has more credits as a writer, including The Hunger Games (2012) and Captain Phillips (2013), than director; he does nothing wrong nor anything special as director but could lack the experience to get the best out of his cast. Chiwetel Ejiofor is watchable as the conflicted man with a guilty secret who is our entry point into the story but his interaction with Nicole Kidman, who plays another version of her ice maiden act, lacks conviction while Julia Roberts, in a part originally written to be a man, feels underdeveloped. As a result we are not really drawn into the mystery or the secrets intertwined within lives of these people.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Secret in Their Eyes is presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, near to the original 2.35:1, in 1080p, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a good looking film. Detail is sharp in both close-up and wide shots, colours are digital glossy but still natural. Blacks are inky solid, shadow detail fine, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There was ghosting during one crowd pan at the baseball but otherwise I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1 plus there is an English audio description track (Dolby Digital 5.1) available.

     Dialogue was clear and centred. The film is not action heavy so the surrounds mostly provided for the excellent and evocative score by Emilo Kanderer and some ambient crowd noise. Gunshots when they occurred had a nice resonance. I did not notice any major sub-woofer use, but nor did the film require it.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-Up Trailers

     Trailers for Truth (2:00), Room (1:25) and Concussion (1:56) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

    There are no other extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region A release of Secret in Their Eyes includes an audio commentary by director Billy Ray and producer Mark Johnson which is reported to be good, plus two very short featurettes (1:59, 3:23). The commentary gives the Region A release the advantage.

Summary

     With this cast I expected more from Secret in Their Eyes which once again highlights the difficulty of remaking complex and intelligent award winning foreign films into English. Secret in Their Eyes is a competent film and interesting enough, however if you are interested check out the original film; El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) has been released in this country and reviewed on this site here.

     The video and audio are very good; the extras available in the US are missing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, April 02, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE