The Secret in Their Eyes

Critics are supposed to dump on Hollywood remakes of foreign-language films, but this Americanized version of Juan Jose Campanella’s overrated art-house hit The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) is at least as good as the original and, with a running time well under two hours, certainly more concise. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the working-class LA cop who’s haunted by an unsolved rape-murder and entranced with the assistant DA on the case, played by Nicole Kidman (excellent as always); in the most significant story revision, the victim’s vengeful husband has become the victim’s vengeful mother, also a cop, who’s played by Julia Roberts. Screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) has found a functional American equivalent for the political wrinkle that elevated the original above the usual whodunit; instead of the culprit going free as an intelligence asset in Argentina’s “dirty war,” here he’s a CIA mole informing on a terrorist sleeper cell just after 9/11. Billy Ray directed; with Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, and Alfred Molina.