A drama filled with gradually less murky flashbacks is noteworthy for its thespians embroiled in trauma, as well as retribution, even bewilderment.
The Secrets We Keep stars Noomi Repace, Joel Kinnaman and Chris Messina in adhering to modest period polish of Post World War II Americana (filled primarily in Louisiana).
Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler keeps the proceedings from veering into the nonsensical from Rapace’s resolute, nearly mad Maja doing her utmost to get the “truth” out of her neighbor Thomas, an enigmatic Kinnaman. Maja is convinced that Thomas is really Karl a former SS officer during the war who inflicted much harm on her and her family from Romania, especially the death of her sister.
The link to this three-hander is Maja’s physician husband Lewis, endowed by Messina (Birds of Prey, Argo) with a range that complements Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Prometheus) fairly. As Maja responds to his charity and hesitancy, and devotion laying bare a troubling past more than he ever knew.
Eschewing pulpy trappings, Adler reins in what could have overwrought and ham-fisted into what still has a mostly contrived, unpersuasive air about it. The efforts to keep a menacing figure at bay may work longe than expected due to how well an intense, if petite Rapace and the tall and oft-bound Kinnaman unveil the psychological underpinnings of their characters.
What makes for more than passable viewing outside the theatre in these precarious times also resonates form Jaja’s acquaintance with (Swiss-neutral) Thomas’ American wife Rachel, devoted with concern and even doubt by Amy Seimetz.