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VOD Review: The Secrets We Keep

October 16, 2020

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

A dramatic revenge thriller set in the American suburbia of the 1950s, The Secrets We Keep follows Maja (Noomi Rapace), a Romanian woman who fled her home country following World War II, and has tried her best to forget the past.

Maja has established a quiet life in the United States with her husband Lewis (Chris Messina) and their young son Patrick (Jackson Vincent). But traumatic memories from the war start flooding back when she sees a man (Joel Kinnaman) in her neighbourhood, whom she believes is the Nazi soldier that brutalized her back in Romania fifteen years ago.

Maja knocks him out, puts him in the trunk of her car, and ties him up in her basement. He insists that he is Swiss, not German, and wasn’t even involved in the war, but Maja is convinced that he is lying and changed his identity so as not to be held accountable for his crimes. Maja and Lewis try to get him to admit his true identity through torture, but they run the risk of being caught, especially as the man’s wife (Amy Seimetz) starts looking for her missing husband.

Directed by Yuval Adler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ryan Covington, The Secrets We Keep does do an okay job of keeping us guessing as to the real identity of the man in the basement, but the script is rife with plot holes. The characters often make questionable choices that strain credibility, and they aren’t developed enough for us to get truly invested in their story. Maja’s intention are also somewhat hazy, insisting that she doesn’t want to kill the man, just to get him to confess to his crimes.

Rapace does a decent enough job in the leading role, but she isn’t given enough to really build upon her character, who ends up feeling surface-deep. While The Secrets We Keep is not entirely ineffective as a pulpy thriller, and is not without a few moments of intrigue, it’s also somewhat frustrating and feels mildly exploitative. The film as a whole never really builds to something more interesting and ends up feeling somewhat generic, not hitting hard enough to leave more of an impact.

The Secrets We Keep is being released today on a variety of VOD and digital platforms. It’s being distributed in Canada by Elevation Pictures.

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