This week from writer/director Yuval Adler, Ryan Covington and Bleeker Street is the story of pain and memories in THE SECRETS WE KEEP.
World War II is over and life in America for Romanian housewife Maja (Noomi Rapace) is busy one. Helping husband Lewis (Chris Messina) with his medical practice, they are a typical family raising young son Patrick (Jackson Vincent). While at the park, Maja hears something that brings about a unsettling memory.
A man whistling for his dog causes Maja to follow to see his face. Going home without answers, Maja starts to become nervous around Lewis and he notices. She becomes obsessed with discovering if the man is who she thinks he is and once its confirmed, another plan takes place.
Maja kidnaps Carl (Joel Kinnaman) and brings him to her basement. She finally comes clean with Lewis about her past, the war and who she believes is tied up in their basement. Questioning him and getting no answers, they decide to find out more about Carl and his past. Maja takes it as far as getting to know his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz).
Declaring his innocence, Carl pleads for Lewis to listen and that Maja is mistaken. He tries his best, but Maja doesn’t believe him and refuses to stop trying to get to the truth, no matter how painful for them all.
Rapace as Maja is a nervous chain-smoker who tries to a hide her past as deep inside her as possible. What happened in the war traumatized her so deeply that Lewis can always tell when something is wrong, he just does not know what it is. That is what makes Rapace so perfect for this role. She continues to show her strength in the roles she chooses, and this role is deep, intense and gut wrenching.
Messina as Lewis clearly loves his wife, son and his practice. He enjoys working with his wife and the community feeling he is contributing. He is shocked when Maja shares what is in their basement and why. He finds it all so difficult as his wife shares the secrets, she has been keeping from him for so long. Messina is understanding, suspicious and a husband trying to protect his wife.
Kinnaman as Carl has his own secrets that he is keeping from an unsuspecting wife. He pleads mainly with Lewis to understand that he is not the person Maja fears and that he is willing to walk away and forget the whole thing. Kinnaman is powerful for someone tied in a basement as everything Maja wants to know is in his eyes.
Seimetz as Rachel is a woman who is trying to understand why her husband would leave. Taking care of their two children now becomes her priority and she comes to appreciate Maja’s visits. They talk about their husbands and lives, but Rachel does not know Maja is just getting information.
Other cast include Madison Jones as Annabelle, Jeff Pope as Jim White, David Maldonado as Officer Brouwer, Ed Amatrudo as Dr. Sonnderquist and Ritchie Montgomery as Mitchell.
Bleeker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
THE SECRETS THEY KEEP is a story about survival and the trauma that follows years later. It’s about remembering those loved and lost but never forgetting who caused the pain. Once Maja sees Carl, all the pain she has hidden from everyone in her life cannot be stuffed back down.
It is clear that Maja doesn’t know exactly what she is doing or even what it is she truly wants. Revenge? Answers? She takes it one step at a time, one thought at a time and Lewis fears her as each episode passes. These three people are locked in madness created by the past and it will end – one way or another.
An excellent cast and a suspenseful story have been put together by Adler and Covington. The cast brings an intensity that leaves an ending that even I did not see coming. Fear is a terrible thing and makes people do things that would not ordinarily do and THE SECRETS THEY KEEP is an excellent example of that.
In the end – a quiet neighborhood with a secret past!