Make it Snappy: 'The Secret in Their Eyes'

Thanks to starring in this year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film, Ricardo Dar n, one of Argentina's most successful and well-regarded actors, may finally get the attention here that he deserves. Only a handful of his films have been available in the US. Notably he played the lead in Fabi n Bielinsky's only two films before that Argentine's director's untimely death in 2006 -- as the double-crossing master crook Marcos in "Nine Queens" (2000), a deeply pleasurable whiplash of a tale about a scam involving counterfeit stamps whose images provide the film's title; and then as the amateur taxidermist from the city, Esteban, out of his depth in more ways than one in the remote countryside, whose epilepsy provides the title for "The Aura" (2005). In 2001, Dar n also starred in Juan Jos (c) Campanella's comedy, "The Son of the Bride." The first two are available at Netflix and the Campanella is slated for US DVD release, also thanks to this year's Oscars.

In Campanella's "The Secret in Their Eyes/ El secreto de sus ojos," Dar n rejoins that writer-director and heads a fine ensemble cast as Benjamin Esp sito, both a retired police investigator trying to make sense, in the year 2000, of the Morales case, a vicious rape and murder that occurred almost a quarter century before, and in flashback as Esp sito's younger self in 1974 Argentina as the nation descended into what would become its Right-wing "dirty war." Dar n is now in his 60s, but has the sort of face and carriage that make him easily believable as the younger man with darker hair and a full beard, in the flashback sequences. The same is true of the excellently matched lead actress, Soledad Villamil, who plays the aristocratic Irene Men (c)ndez-Hastings, both as a young Cornell-educated lawyer who joins the prosecutor's office as a law clerk and supervises Esp sito, and as the older, successful judge whom Esp sito contacts again in the new century.

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