VOD film review: The Secrets We Keep
James R | On 15, May 2021
Director: Yuval Adler
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Chris Messina
Where to watch The Secrets We Keep online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW
In 2009, Noomi Rapace announced herself as a formidable talent to watch in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since then, though, she’s often struggled to find a role that lives up to the complexity of Lisbeth Salander. The Secrets We Keep, however, gives Rapace something meaty and morally provocative to sink her teeth into.
Directed by Yuval Adler, the thriller follows Maja, a Romanian who lives in 1960s America with her husband, Lewis (Chris Messina). He’s a doctor, they have a son, and life appears very much the epitome of the American Dream. But that domestic bliss is shattered when she recognises a man from her past: Thomas (Joel Kinnaman), the German SS officer who assaulted her and her sister during World War II. She takes appropriate action – by tracking him down, kidnapping him and holding him hostage in the basement while trying to extract a confession.
Lewis is the one to ask the obvious question: is Thomas really the man she thinks? Or is the trauma of her past making her see and imagine things? Joel Kinnaman is perfect for the role: he’s an expert at playing all-American men who have a sour streak beneath the surface, and the more he insists that he’s an innocent clerk from Switzerland, the more we can’t work out who’s telling the truth. Kinnaman’s unblinking, composed facade is at once ambiguous and suspicious and, when we meet his wife (Amy Seimetz), even sympathetic.
But this is Rapace’s show, and her steely determination – bordering on desperation – sweeps us along with her, with Adler and Ryan Covington’s screenplay keeping us on her side of basement chair than her target, to the point where a scene where the police start asking questions is nail-bitingly tense.
Things don’t necessarily resolve in the most surprising of ways, but the excellent cast bring nuance to the familiar narrative, while the sharply paced 90-minute runtime (which includes some harrowing flashbacks) ensures that events are never less than compelling. The result emerges less as a revenge-fuelled drama and more a thoughtful meditation on living with guilt – even when the guilt doesn’t belong to the person you expect.
The Secrets We Keep is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, as part of an £11.99 NOW Cinema Membership subscription. For the latest Sky TV packages and prices, click the button below.