Film buffs will recognize the foreshadowing that makes the climax slightly predictable, but the performances and premise make ‘The Secrets We Keep’ a watchable film.
Cast & Crew:
Yuval Adler| Director
Lorenzo Di Bonaventure| Producer
Noomi Rapace| Actor
Joel Kinnaman| Actor
Chris Messina| Actor
Amy Seimetz| Actor
David Maldonado| Actor
Ed Amatrudo| Actor
The film is set in America 15 years after World War II and revolves around Maja (Noomi Rapace), a Romanian who now lives in the United States with her husband Lewis (Chris Messina).
Lewis and Maja met in Europe while he was serving in the medical corps during the war. They have a young son named Patrick, and things are going well for the family. Maja hears a man whistling and recognizes the tune from her time in the war while playing with Patrick in the park one day. It triggers a traumatic memory for Maja, and she is convinced that this man, Thomas (Joel Kinnaman), is a Nazi officer who raped and murdered her sister. As she kidnaps him and holds him hostage in her basement, her pleasant demeanor fades. All she wants is for Thomas to confess to his war crimes.
Maja is central to the story, and Noomi Rapace plays her with the appropriate level of intensity. Maja’s sanity and her memory of events are called into question by her performance. Maja transforms from a devoted wife and mother to a vengeful, damaged victim hell-bent on vengeance. Rapace keeps you interested by incorporating a compelling amount of survivor’s guilt. Chris Messina also shines as Lewis, who tries to instill some morality into the situation. Messina and Rapace work well together, and their scenes have just the right amount of chemistry to raise the emotional stakes. As Thomas, Joel Kinnaman is somewhat subdued.
The film also addresses moral issues such as where to draw the line when seeking justice, even when it involves a loved one. Maja is dealing with a lot of unresolved trauma, and she chooses to deal with it in ways that put her marriage at risk, leaving Lewis in a bind. However, the suspense takes a while to build in the first half. There are moments of exploration in which the characters examine what they tell their loved ones and how much of it is true. This is a risky strategy, and director Yuval Adler isn’t always able to capitalize on it. Some moviegoers will recognize the foreshadowing that makes the climax slightly predictable. However, the performances and premise make for a reasonably entertaining watch, even if it isn’t particularly original.