Award winner Billy Ray's — known for "The Hunger Games" and "Captain Phillips" — latest film "Secret In Their Eyes" is a thrilling drama set in the most dangerous place possible — a mother's heart.  

Jess (Julia Roberts) and Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are terrorism investigators in 2002 when their work leads to the discovery of a dead girl left in a dumpster. The girl turns out to be  Jess' daughter. 

Thirteen years later the murder is still unsolved and it haunts everyone involved. 

When Ray finds the perpetrator, the investigation must be opened yet again, but what is uncovered turns out to be Pandora's Box.

Losing a child has got to be one of the most horrific experiences a person could possibly endure. "Secret in their Eyes" makes you feel those intense emotions. 

Attempting to create more than just a crime thriller, there is also the requisite unrequited love as well as an antagonistic and familiar dialogue among co-workers that adds humor and intrigue.

But, this cat and mouse game seems never-ending. And it's difficult to determine past and the present, muddling the time-line. 

With a few holes in the plot and some inexplicable motivation, the film just falls flat. But it does convey the horrors of violent murders and twistedness of those who commit them. These scenes are atrocious and will burn disturbing images into your memory.  

Roberts more than adequately captures the heart and soul of a tortured mother. Zoe Graham, who plays her daughter, looks remarkably like Roberts and portrays a comfortable ease and closeness with her screen mother. 

Dean Norris' talents are never ending, even if he continues to wear a badge in most of his roles. His subtleties add so much to what could have been a very dull and benign character. 

Ejiofor, on the other hand, seems to be spinning his wheels in his role, but this seems more due to a lack of character development. With resolution too far in the distance and repetitive lines, even Ejiofor’s talents can’t give enough life to his character.

Nicole Kidman’s performance is lackluster, with little to no emotion.

"Secret In Their Eyes" is an initially shocking thriller, but it loses its intensity with the drama seemingly searching for direction. With confusing timelines and repetitive dialogue, the film misses the mark.

2 Stars

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