Set in a post-World War II America, The Secrets We Keep, centres around Maja (played by Noomi Rapace), a Romanian ex-pat who lives a relatively quiet life in the suburbs with her doctor husband and young son. This all changes when Maja seeks vengeance against her new German neighbour (played by Joel Kinnaman), whom she believes committed heinous war crimes against her and her family.
Directed by Israeli filmmaker, Yuval Adler, at first glance, The Secrets We Keep appears to be depicting a quiet yet idyllic society. It is incredibly symbolic of what the United States was really like after World War II, a time for economic growth and prosperity, where Americans could truly let their guard down. However, the film quickly moves in a direction that indicates that this was not the case for everyone.
As the film progresses, it is evident that Maja’s character is incredibly paranoid but strong-willed and composed, especially when it comes to concealing the horrors from her past. This is something that is emulated by Noomi Rapace’s performance, with the Swedish actress portraying the role with a great deal of intensity and grit.
With the support of costume designer Susan Matheson and production designer Kelly McGehee,this film perfectly embodies its 1950s setting through the use of carefully selected costumes and props. The stylistic choices made by the film’s cinematographer, Kolja Brandt also feel symbolic of the era that the film is set in, as many of the shots and colours used are reminiscent of old photographs from that period.
There are several moments in the film that feel like they go by in a flash, which may have the viewer struggling to keep up with all the action. This, however, emphasises Maja’s impulsive actions and decision-making throughout the film.
Adler’s The Secrets We Keep is an incredibly thought-provoking film that touches on heavy topics such as survivors guilt and misogyny, whilst also providing a real insight into the impact of war by highlighting that the scars many of its victims bear are not only physical but mental.
The Secrets We Keep currently has a limited season at PalaceNova cinemas, and will be available for rent via the Foxtel Store from October 21st.
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