El secreto de sus ojos
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Synopsis for
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) More at IMDbPro »El secreto de sus ojos (original title)

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The story, set in 1999, is told in flashback form: in June 1974 a federal justice agent, Benjamn Espsito, becomes spellbound by and subsequently entangled in the investigation of the crime of a young woman, brutally raped and murdered inside her house in a Buenos Aires neighbourhood. Her widowed husband, bank employee Ricardo Morales, is shocked by the news; Espsito vows to find the killer and bring him to justice. In his ordeal he is aided by his alcoholic assistent Pablo Sandoval and a newcomer, the upper class lawyer Irene Menndez-Hastings, who takes over as department chief. Espsito's rivaling partner Romano pins the murder on two immigrant workers so as to get rid of the matter - an issue that enrages Espsito, who attacks Romano in a fury.

He finds a tip soon enough while looking over some old pictures provided by Morales: he comes across a dubious young man - identified as Isidoro Gmez - who looks at the victim in a suspicious way in several photos. Espsito investigates the whereabouts of Gmez, and determines that he is living and working in Buenos Aires, but fails to locate him.

Espsito and Sandoval break into Gmez's household in the city of Chivilcoy, hometown not only of Gmez, but also of Morales's ill-fated wife. During the illegal search, they (unwillingly) steal a set of letters written by the suspect to his mother. Back in Buenos Aires, the deed earns them trouble back at the courthouse, and neither make anything out the letters. In addition, Gmez remains at large due to a careless phone call made earlier by Morales, who desperately wanted to apprehend the killer of his wife. In the end, it is Sandoval who comes across a new lead: a fellow drinker in the bar identifies the various names mentioned in the letters as being those of various soccer players of Racing Club.

After identifying him as a Racing Club fan, Espsito and Sandoval attend a soccer match where Racing Club plays against Huracn in the hope of catching Gmez. With the assistance of police officer Molinari and his men, they spot him among the crowd, but a sudden goal provides the necessary disturbance for Gmez to slip away. A surreal pursuit ensues in which Gmez nearly vanishes, but he's ultimately knocked down in the middle of the pitch. Espsito and Irene Hastings subsequently stage a fake, largely illegal interrogation at the office. They succeed in bringing him to confess the murder by taunting him and hurting his macho pride.

Justice seems served; however, barely a year later, Gmez is released by a spiteful Romano, who is now working for a government agency. Amid increasing political violence, Gmez is set to work as a hitman for the far-right wing of the Peronist party. Espsito finds Sandoval shot dead upon arriving home - Sandoval used to pass the night at the house of his coworker, due to endless arguments with his wife about his drink problems. He presumes, and imagines, that Sandoval was killed by hitmen sent after himself, perhaps under Romano's orders, and that Sandoval posed as Espsito and sacrificed his life for his friend. A budding romance between Benjamn and Irene - the latter then recently married - is cut short by Sandoval's death and Espsito's ultimate decision to exile himself deep within the countryside, with the help of some of Irene's relatives. Here the movie makes a definite stop in 1999. After coming back from exile in 1985, Espsito returned to an uneventful career in Buenos Aires until his retirement. Haunted by the past, he's determined to write down his story in novel form. He presents the framework to Irene, still married and with children. She remains resentful and hardened from their sudden departure 24 years earlier, and for apparently never having had her feelings returned by him.

Espsito drives to Chivilcoy to meet Morales, the widower, who has taken to a quiet life and gradually let go of his obsession with the murder case. Espsito promises him that he will not rest until he can put the convict once again in jail. A hesitant Morales then confesses to having killed Gmez many years ago, having kidnapped him and shot him in the trunk of his car. A disturbed Espsito leaves, but upon thinking over certain facts, secretly returns to Morales's house. Sneaking inside, he is shocked to find that Morales has a makeshift cell in his home and that he has kept Gmez chained inside for over 24 years as punishment for his wife's death. He kept him alive by feeding him and tending to him, but not once in 24 years talking to him nor letting him out. Morales repeats what he had mantained in front of Espsito back to 1974: that, instead of a death sentence, he believes the boredom of a meaningless life in jail to be true justice.

Espsito leaves. He pays a visit to Sandoval's grave. Knowing that Gmez will never be a free man again, he finally comes to terms with his life. He visits Irene one more time, where he finally responds to her feelings. Their love rekindled, they smilingly shut themselves in her office.
Page last updated by BigJobMan, 8 months ago
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