Set in post-World War II, The Secrets We Keep follows Maja (Noomi Rapace) who lives with her husband and son. As a family, they are moving forward in life and attempting to heal from their past. But when Maja hears a stranger’s voice in public, she is convinced this stranger is someone who committed terrible crimes against her in the past.
Maja is now determined to get the truth from this man and revenge for what he did. She prepares herself to take matters into her own hands. During broad daylight, Maja successfully knocks the stranger unconscious with a hammer to the head and puts him in the back of her car. She comes home and reveals to her husband what she has just done and why. What will Maja do with the stranger? And more importantly, does Maja have the right man?
Actress Noomi Rapace once again delivers an outstanding dramatic performance. As a character, Maja has lots of secrets when it comes to her dark past, but one thing is evident- she has been suffering with her past for some time and desires justice. The plot does not spoon-feed its story all at once. Thanks to actress Noomi Rapace’s performance, many of the details are revealed through the character’s actions. I knew quite quickly there was something haunting Maja based on Rapace’s acting alone.
Mystery is undoubtedly a significant element in this film. I found myself wondering for the entire duration if the stranger that Maja had assaulted and kidnapped actually committed the crimes, or, even worse, if Maja made a mistake. It is this question that is the driving force of this film for me personally. Once questions were raised, I had to know the truth. As the film progressed, I also enjoyed the touching flashbacks Maja has, all of which reveal more elements of her past and her heartbreak during the war.
While this is quite a dramatic film in both plot and performance, let us talk more about the mystery. The film set up a solid mystery for its audiences to keep guessing for the entire length of the film. I am saddened though to say that once viewers know the truth it is unlikely that movie lovers will return to this film for another watch. Without the film’s mysteries, the film would undoubtedly be weakened even though the performances are solid.
Overall, The Secrets We Keep is quite a dramatic story, but to my surprise, it also has an element of mystery which was nice to see. Actress Noomi Rapace was great in this film and I truly felt for her character as she deals with both an upsetting past and a possible opportunity for revenge. Once viewers know the movie’s reveal, I’m saddened to say that it’s unlikely movie lovers will wish to re-visit this film. In the end, I found many ingredients of this film pleasing.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden