Sunday, December 20, 2015
1. The story - First, the answer is no, I have not seen the original. It's been on my list to watch, and I just moved it up to the top because I'm interested to see how it differs (other than the gender swap). I rarely would ever watch a movie that is a remake without watching the original first, but this was the only movie that both my mom and I wanted to see. Oddly, as I started watching it, I remembered that I already knew the story. I read an article about the original, and when it mentions a surprise twist, I couldn't help myself and read what it was. I didn't make the connection until about 1/2 through watching this movie, but luckily, it didn't really ruin it for me. I think that's what makes a great story - when even knowing the twist, it's still interesting. And, this, is a great revenge story.
2. The "secret" - *MAJOR spoilers, obviously* So, the part that I remembered from reading that article is that the mother finds her revenge rather quickly, but can't admit to it (because she would go to prison), so she continues in the "search" to find her daughter's murderer. Think about that. How brilliant is that story? And, it hasn't really been explored before. We've seen revenge stories, but it usually ends at the revenge, but what happens after? We assume, they either go to prison, or they get away with it. But, the psychology behind "they get away with it" and can't tell anyone is really, really interesting. I wish the movie focused on this aspect more, but instead it focuses more on her partner still convinced that he will find the guy. It actually ruins the movie to tell such a strong female-driven story of revenge, through a male perspective. It become more his story; his obsession to get revenge for his partner; his need to be the hero (which is interesting, but not as interesting). Also, there is actually another twist that I didn't know about, which in case you're still reading, I won't spoil for you. It's really great, though.
3. The aftermath - After letting the movie sink in for a few weeks, I'm surprised by the fact that even with such a strong story and strong actors, it's a forgettable movie. My mother kept reminding me of the movie An Eye for an Eye, with Sally Field, and about how that movie really effected her as a mother. I remember that movie so clearly, and I don't see how this one could compare to that impact. Perhaps it was because An Eye for an Eye was more gruesome and displayed the violent manner of the daughter's death more prominently, or perhaps it reveled in the simplicity of the vengeance theme. I don't really know. However, for a movie to have an impact, it needs to be memorable, and Secret in Their Eyes fails at this. The cast gives their all, but I think there is something lacking in the way the story is told. And the chemistry between Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman is non-existent (and, arguably, unnecessary?).