"The Secret in Their Eyes," the 2010 Foreign Language Film Academy Award winner, sneaks up and leaves you with an overwhelming sense of having experienced greatness. It is an astonishing film.

The story centers on Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darín), a retired Argentina criminal court investigator writing a book based on a cold case in which a young married woman was murdered.

The film weaves back and forth in a non-linear narrative between 1999 and 1974 through a series of flashbacks as Esposito recounts his book to long-time colleague, Judge Irene Menendez Hastings (Soledad Villamil).

Esposito promises the victim's widower, Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago), that justice will be served.

"The Secret in Their Eyes" has elements of "Kiss of the Spider Woman" in structure; "Silence of the Lambs," for a gruesome crime and aftermath; and the Hitchcock touch, for the compelling manner in which director Juan José Campanella, who directed 17 episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," unravels what is a kind of "CSI: Buenos Aires."

The screenplay, written by Campanella, is based on the book by Eduardo Sacheri.

"Secret" fascinatingly references the Peronista era Argentina, which relates to the plot in an oblique but very important way.

There's an incredible sequence where Esposito and his colleague, Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), are tracking down a suspect, Isidoro Gomez (Javier Godino), during a soccer game in a stadium. It's a bravura piece of film-making.

Darin and Villamil are compelling. Their sparks energize the film. Francella evokes compassion for his sad-sack character. Godino is chilling.

"The Secret in Their Eyes" received an Oscar for a reason many reasons. Don't miss it.

"The Secret in Their Eyes," MPAA Rated R (Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) for a rape scene, violent images, some graphic nudity and language; Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller; Run time: 2 hr., seven min.; Spanish, English subtitles; distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.

Credit Readers Anonymous: The score for "The Secret in Their Eyes" is written by Emilio Kauderer.

Box Office, June 4, "Shrek Forever After" is No. 1 for three weeks straight, with $25.3 million and a $183 million total. "Get Him to the Greek" opened at No. 2, with $17.4 million. "Killers" opened at No. 3, with $16.1 million.

4. "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," $13.9 million, $59.4 million, two weeks; 5. "Sex and the City 2," $12.6 million, $73.4 million, two weeks; 6. "Marmaduke," $11.3 million, opening; 7."Iron Man 2," $7.7 million, $291.2 million, five weeks; 8. "Splice," $7.4 million, opening; 9. "Robin Hood," $5.1 million, $94.2 million, four weeks; 10. "Letters to Juliet," $3 million, $43.3 million, four weeks; 14. "The Secret in Their Eyes," $420,000, $4 million, eight weeks

Unreel, June 11: "The A-Team," Rated PG-13. Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel star as Iraq War veterans out to clear their names with the United States military.

"The Karate Kid," Rated PG. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's son, Jaden, stars in the new version as the apprentice and Jackie Chan stars as the martial arts master.

Looking ahead, "Toy Story 3" opens June 18; "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "Knight and Day," June 25; and "The Last Airbender," with sequences filmed at the Pagoda, Reading, and Beltzville State Park, both open July 2.

In memory of Dennis Hopper: This column is dedicated to actor Dennis Hopper (May 17, 1936 - May 29, 2010). His 201 movies and TV shows included "Rebel Without A Cause"; "Giant"; "Easy Rider," which he directed and for which he received a screenplay Oscar nomination; "Hoosiers," for which he received a supporting actor Oscar nomination; "Blue Velvet"; "River's Edge," with Bethlehem's Daniel Roebuck; and "Colors," which he directed.

Four Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

Read previous movie reviews at www.tnonline.com. Email Paul Willistein at: pwillistein@tnonline.com and on Facebook.