* * C
Secret in Their Eyes is a crime drama that should have been a great film. A former FBI agent, Ray Casten (Chiwetel Ejiofor) returns after more than a decade with new evidence in a cold case that his team worked on. The film jumps back and forth between the events of the original murder investigation and the pursuit of Casten’s new evidence. He has found a man he believes is their prime suspect, who evaded conviction years earlier.
The cast includes Nicole Kidman as DA Claire Slone and Julia Roberts as agent Jessica Cobb. Yet despite their “star power”, I found Secret in Their Eyes didn’t hold my attention. The pace was a little slow. The constant shifting between back story and the present day grew tired. In the end, the twist ending, which I won’t reveal, was good, but the payoff wasn’t worth the effort of sitting through rest of the film.
I found the entire thing very melodramatic. Drama requires one to relate to the characters. Ejiofor’s Ray Casten is a reasonable every man, but the romantic subplot of his unrequited love for Claire Slone was tiresome. Robert’s Jessica Cobb, an overachieving single mother, was similarly dull. Dean Norris of Breaking Bad fame plays a moderately interesting minor role, but his character is unexceptional. Like much modern literature, this film has no heroes, and yet it fails to deliver any interesting characters.