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Soundtrack review: Secret in their eyes (Emilio Kauderer – 2015)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Secret in their eyes (Emilio Kauderer – 2015)


“Secret in Their Eyes” is a 2015 American thriller film written and directed by Billy Ray, based on the 2005 novel originally titled La pregunta de sus Ojos (The question in her eyes) by Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, and Michael Kelly. A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered. I have seen the original Argentinian movie from 2009 and was quite impressed with it. The remake is scored by Emilio Kauderer who also contributed to the original score, which creates a nice link.

Nothing really happens musically until the strings in “Burning van” start to tell a story. This cue raises the stakes a little bit from the dark thriller moods that opened the score. The only way seems to be up from the music as “Stadium chase” gets all frantic and exciting. Now, having seen the original movie I can imagine the scene it was written for and this enhances the experience of listening to this cue. I love the suspense in builds and the sense on uncertainty.

The thing is that this story is very dark, almost visceral in the pain in brings. I wanted to hear that in the music. The composer chose to subdue the pain and keep it contained rather than let it bang the doors wide open and pour out. The darker cues from “Secret in their eyes” don’t seem to take off; they remain at the level of announcing something ominous and terrible instead of actually making us experience it. I wanted more of the final, impeccable minute of “The smokehouse”, which sent me straight to Twin Peaks. I love the emotion in “A secret put to rest”.

Most of the other dark cues though remain in that tense thriller zone without leaving those boundaries. They don’t separate themselves from similar cues from other scores and I can’t see myself listening to this score again out of context. I am however very curious about how it sounds in context and I will pay attention to how the music fits the images.

“Secret in their eyes” had some quite brilliant moments when it got a little louder. The action parts and the moments when the composer made the drama feel more real were my favorites and showed me another way in which this score could have developed. The rest of the time the music announced something that didn’t quite materialize. I am surprised by this since I quite enjoyed the score for the original movie. I only seemed to recapture the emotion I felt there in “Jess’ confession”.

Cue rating: 81 /100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 48

Album excellence: 22%


Burning Van

911 Chase

Driving Back

Jess’ Confession

Jess’ Elevator

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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