SECRETS WE KEEP, THE
(director/writer: Yuval Adler; screenwriter: Ryan Covington; cinematographer: Kolja Brandt; editor: Richard Mettler; music: John Paesano; cast: Noomi Rapace (Maja), Joel Kinnaman (Thomas), Chris Messina (Lewis), Amy Seimetz (Rachel), Victoria Hill (Claire), Lucy Faust (Patricia), David Maldonado (Officer Brouwer), Ritchie Montgomery (Mitchell), Jackson Vincent (Patrick), Milly Matlovsky (Miriah), Madison Jones (Annabel), Jeff Pope (Dr. Nussbaum), Ed Amatrudo (Albert Sonnderquist); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Adam Riback/Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Greg Shapiro/Erik Howsam/Stuart Ford; Bleeker Street; 2020)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A well-acted exploitation revenge film on the Holocaust directed by Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler (“Bethlehem”/”The Operative”). Adler and co-writer Ryan Covington put a lot on the plate in filming this highly implausible thriller. It tackles issues coming to fruition in the aftermath of World War II, and brings up the possibility of redemption years after a serious incident during the war comes to light. But it never creates a needed suspension of disbelief.
In an unnamed American small-town around 1960 (shot in Louisiana), Maja (Noomi Rapace), a Romanian housewife, is married to an American doctor, Lewis (Chris Messina), she met in a Greek hospital after the war. While in the park with her only son Patrick (Jackson Vincent), she recognizes a stranger whom she believes is the German SS soldier who near the end of World War II took part in the assault of a group of gypsy women that included her and the murder of her sister after they escaped from a concentration camp. She has never told her husband this.
At gunpoint, after leaving his factory job, she takes the stranger captive. But losing her nerve to immediately kill him, she takes him home and locks him in her basement and demands a confession from the man named Thomas (Joel Kinnaman). He claims he’s a Swiss clerk named Karl who was is in Zurich during the war, and that she’s mistaken. Maja’s hubby is confused and is not sure of what to believe.
This scenario seems to be almost similar to Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman’s play”Death and the Maiden” and like the movie made by Roman Polanski.
When Maja stops plying her prisoner with liquor or severing his fingers, she gets close to his sleepless American wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) that she also kidnapped, who questions if this is really true about her husband and thinks it might be possible.
While this interrogation takes place, the prisoner attempts to escape, and the suspicious neighbors call the police. The police visit, but remain clueless about the incident.
It leads to a contrived B-movie pulp ending. But the film’s still thought-provoking even if compromised by such a bad plot move.
REVIEWED ON 9/25/2020 GRADE: C +