The Secret in Their Eyes

Rated 4.0

Presuming to write a novel about a rape-and-murder case that’s haunted him since long ago getting stalled by political corruption, a retired Buenos Aires court investigator (Ricardo Darín) revisits prominent figures from his past: the classy and brassy superior (Soledad Villamil) he not-so-secretly adored, the funny and brilliant but perpetually drunk partner (Guillermo Francella) who paid dearly for unlocking the case, their indelibly creepy chief suspect (Javier Godino), and the victim’s self-consciously fixated widower (Pablo Rago). Writer-director Juan José Campanella has enough Law & Order: Special Victims Unit directing credits to make short work of this digestibly political romantic-comedic procedural thriller, but it’s nice to see him stretch out into something longer and subtler, here adapting a wry, rueful tale of unrequited love and miscarried justice with Eduardo Sacheri from Sacheri’s novel. Although periodically susceptible to the yellowed tinge of nostalgia and the raw boil of melodrama (one technically dazzling soccer stadium chase scene is too much the showstopper), the prevailing manner is grace, and the Oscar is not unwarranted.