Everybody Knows Review
What’s It About?
A large family comes together in a small Spanish village where they grew up for a wedding. But when one of the teenagers goes missing, suspicions, rivalries and hostilities flare up amid the tension.
Who’s In It?
Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside, No Country For Old Men, Skyfall)
Penelope Cruz (Blow, Volver, Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Other notables include:
Ricardo Darin (The Secret In Their Eyes, Wild Tales)
Director: Asghar Farhadi (About Elly, A Separation, The Past, The Salesman)
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has delivered an impressive and gripping yet simple drama about the secrets and lies behind a family. At times simplistic kitchen sink drama, Farhadi delivers a tense Agatha Christie style potboiler, thanks in great part to a truly magnificent and heavyweight cast boasting the likes of Penelope Cruz (so often more compelling and more comfortable in he own language), Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darin.
The film is set in a small Spanish village, which sees the members of a local family return for a wedding, most notably the sister Laura (Cruz) and her wealthy husband Alejandro from Argentina. And her teenage daughter, Irene, seems to be causing a stir and turning one or two heads.
On the surface, everything seems ok. But come the night of the wedding, Irene disappears from her bed, with kidnapping cuttings left in her place, soon followed by texts demanding money for her release otherwise tragedy will surely follow.
Sadly, it is at this point that rather than pulling together, the family rips itself apart. A previous romance between Laura and local Paco (Bardem) becomes an issue with Paco’s other half. Secrets are divulged, and rivalries flare up between the townsfolk and Laura’s dad regarding land, as well as between the family and Paco, who they believe received Laura’s share of the land for next to nothing. Meanwhile rumours circulate that Laura’s husband may not be the success he claims to be.
As the tension ratchets up, driven by incredible performances across the board, there is a real sense of claustrophobia and a palpable feeling of whodunit. The final scene may be a touch underwhelming, but the brilliance of the performances throughout just about carry this otherwise gripping drama over the line.
In A Nutshell:
A thoroughly gripping yet simple drama elevated by some powerful and mesmerising performances.
Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz’s powerhouse performances
The drone shots really add something to the atmosphere
The end sequence