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"The Secrets We Keep" Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


WWII has ended and you've moved to America, married and had a child. You think you've moved on with your life and put the atrocities of war and the pain you've suffered behind you. You think you're safe, finally. That is, until one day you see him. You see the man who tortured you in a prison camp and suddenly all the pain and trauma comes rushing back. What does he want? Does he want to finish the job? Does he want to kill you or your husband or take your child? Your mind runs wild with speculation as you crane your neck to see, just to make sure that is really is is. What do you do? That's the situation the film's main character Maja finds herself in. She's scared not only for her own life but for her family's as well. At the same time she's angry that such a horrible person could have a wife and child and be happy when she suffered at his hands for so long. So, she kidnaps him. The problem is, he says he doesn't remember her. He says he has no idea what she's talking about. Is this mistaken identity? Has Maja kidnapped an innocent man?

Those of us who have comfy lives and have never endured the horrors of war could never grasp the level of trauma these people endured. The soldiers, the innocents taken hostage just because of their beliefs or their many people suffer because of war. The film did a good job of showing how Maja's trauma was affecting her mind. She often doubted herself, convinced herself she was right, then wondered if she was wrong. That's what trauma does to you. It devours your peace of mind and turns it against you. It's a nasty mental disease and Noomi Rapace's splendid performance brought it to life in a haunting way. Joel Kinnaman was also brilliant as a man desperate to survive.

I only had two issues with the film. One, there's a minor torture scene in which a character gets their finger chopped off. The victim merely grunts, and that took the believability out of the moment for me. If you get your finger chopped off, you're going to do more than grunt. The second issue I had was the ending. While the final moment was brilliant and spoke volumes about the characters, I still wish there had been an epilogue. It felt cut short and unfinished. Otherwise, the film accomplished what it set out to accomplish in a wonderfully suspenseful fashion.

In conclusion, I'm always excited when a new Noomi Rapace film releases. She always gives every role she takes on her whole self, mind and body, and holds nothing back. What's more, she has great chemistry with the people she works with. She only works with the best, so that says quite a lot about her. If you like mystery or suspense or tales of war or PTSD recovery stories, check this film out. It's tragic, haunting, and keeps you guessing. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

© 2020 Nathan Jasper

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