Release Date: November 20, 2015
Director: Billy Ray
Writer: Billy Ray (screenplay), Juan Josè Campanella (film “El secreto de sus ojos”)
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly, Zoe Graham, Patrick Davis, Eileen Fogarty, Lyndon Smith, Kim Yarbrough, Mark Famiglietti, Amir Malaklou, Niko Nicotera, David Israel, Dennis Keiffer, Don Harvey, Glenn Davis, Walter Tabayoyong
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 111 minutes
Production Company: Gran Via Productions, IM Global, Ingenious Media, Route One Films, STX Entertainment
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Based on the 2005 novel that was titled ‘The Question in Their Eyes’ by Eduardo Sacheri, director/writer Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered Glass) takes a swing at adapting it for an American audience. After viewing his version, I’m more than curious to see what the original source material entails. Filled with an Academy Award winning cast, this story is full of surprises you won’t see coming, and provides insight on the hardships of an FBI Agent. It contains a unique form of storytelling that you’re sure to remember, and ties in with real world events. As the plot thickens, you’re on a journey to solve the puzzle, but the end product may be a ways off from what’s expected.
You’d have to have a good reason not to love Julia Roberts as an actress. She’s not on the silver screen as much these days, but as the trailers suggests she reminds you how she reached the top. For a while Chiwetel Ejiofor was probably one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, but his steady climb to stardom puts him amongst the greats. It goes without saying when it comes to Nicole Kidman. Anything she’s a part of you can sign me up for. So with such a great cast, you’re sure to have a winner, but I can’t come remotely close to saying that now. In the film none of the characters are likeable, and it’s a shame that it’s a waste of talent. Claire (Kidman) doesn’t do anything with her role, other than being eye candy behind her desk in a large office. Ray’s (Ejiofor) position is so dedicated at first, which fuels your excitement for his character, but he lets you down towards the end. If I were to pick a best character he would take the trophy, but all of a sudden he turns into a disrespectful homewrecker that I’ll never be able to respect. As far as Jess (Roberts) in concerned, she’s barely in the film, and when present walks around like a helpless mummy. Given her circumstances that’s understandable initially, but to take up the entire runtime is a botched attempt of superior acting. She doesn’t use the horror she’s filled with to delve into the mission seeking justice, and if she does it’s done off screen, and the trailers lead you on without delivering.
I stated the form of storytelling is unique, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s horrible in short, and is a distraction for the development of the overall film. Instead of being linear, the film jumps back from present to past, while attempting to draw you in. While trying to be clever it’s rather confusing, and blocks your mind to receive the dialogue from the characters being played out on screen. As an audience member, it shouldn’t take me forty-five minutes to understand a timeline. This ridiculous tool is so unnecessary, it forms a different realm of discombobulation. On top of that, the trailers are so misleading that you’re begging for you money back even if it’s free. Giving the source material, this could’ve easily been a masterpiece to be remembered, yet it’s so far from quality I wish it never existed.
I didn’t feel this way throughout the entire film, but early on I knew it would turn out disappointing. I was ready to give the film a below average rating, but soon after the manure hit a thousand fans. While trying to stand on its own a twist reveals itself attempting to shock you, and it does, but not the way it should. It was the most unexpected pathetic reveals that puts this film as one of the worst of the year. I began to get angrier as each second passed, feeling the whole film was a missed opportunity. If anyone would’ve done this to me our friendship would be over, and I’d have a new enemy on my list (if any). It’s interesting to say I was disappointed when my expectations weren’t remotely high, but I’m glad it’s all over, and can’t wait for it to be wiped from my memory.
This film fails on so many levels it deserves a Razzie for every category it can behold. The characters are dry, the story is weak, and the ending will make you cry. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cast didn’t attend the premiere from the fear of their career ending on a low. I’m sure that won’t happen, but it comes to mind as this film surely folds. Without exaggerating it has one of the worst endings I’ve witnessed in film history, and is a sure indication that the director misused what he had. Other than one redeeming quality, there is absolutely nothing to enjoy, and is in all forms a complete waste of time!