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Open secret - review of the film on ARD: Farhadi can do better

The film with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in the leading roles is only apparently about a kidnapping - in truth, it's about old wounds that tear open over time.

Drama • August 4th, 2020 • 10:45 pm

An old bell tower with a broken pane through which pigeons fly in and out, the gears of a clock still creak and creak, lovers of yore have immortalized themselves in the masonry with their initials. An exciting picture that director Asghar Farhadi, who has won two Oscars for the best foreign language film, chooses as the starting point for "Open Secret". His first thriller from 2018, filmed in Spanish, can now be seen in Das Erste and is dedicated to the question of what influence time has on decades-old network of relationships. The master of complicated dramas seeks the answer with the nose of an Agatha Christie and the concentrated star power of Spain.

Laura (Penélope Cruz) returns to her impoverished home village for the wedding of her younger sister with her 16-year-old daughter Irene (Carla Campra) and her young son Diego. Her husband allegedly stayed in Argentina for professional reasons. In addition to her family, Laura also meets her childhood sweetheart Paco (Javier Bardem) again, a former servant to whom she once sold her actually worthless piece of land. In the meantime, Paco and his new partner Bea (Bárbara Lennie) have built up a well-run winery there.

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But the joy of reunion doesn't last long: During the boisterous wedding, Laura's daughter, who suffers from asthma and has already gone to bed, is kidnapped. The kidnappers report by SMS. But not only with her, but surprisingly also with Paco's new partner. Fired by a somewhat misplaced, retired commissioner friend whom the family has involved in their desperation, more and more questions arise. However, more and more secrets are being revealed and resentments are emerging.

While Laura was introduced as a strong personality in the first part of the film, she is now more or less transformed into a howling pile of misery - almost like in a telenovela. Paco takes command, even when Laura's unemployed husband Alejandro (Ricardo Darin) arrives. Alejandro is a dry alcoholic, trusts in God, is financially ruined, and far from being able to pay the requested ransom of 300,000 euros. Paco, however, could if he sold his winery ...

At the end of the series of relationships, which leaves the viewer surprisingly cold, almost everyone suspects everyone, including the migrant seasonal workers at Paco's winery. Anyone who hopes for a spectacular resolution of the kidnapping case is advised against the film. But fans of Farhadi's extraordinary talent to bring family entanglements to light will also be a little disappointed in the end.

Source: teleschau - der mediendienst GmbH