‘Everybody Knows’ Film Review

March 12, 2019
ReadySteadyCut 0
Film, Film Reviews
3

Summary

Everybody Knows swells with incredible performances and a solidly crafted start, but like the church where the wedding takes place, which funds are needed to save, this film begins crumbling away.

3

Summary

Everybody Knows swells with incredible performances and a solidly crafted start, but like the church where the wedding takes place, which funds are needed to save, this film begins crumbling away.

Academy Awards all round for the main players of Spanish thriller Everybody Knows; with Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and director Asghar Farhadi involved you wouldn’t be wrong in expecting a sensational, sizzling result, yet however involving it can be the end product isn’t that strong.

Arriving from Argentina into a small Spanish town to attend her sister’s upcoming wedding are Laura (Cruz) and her two children. The ceremony and joyful reception are blissful until Laura cannot find her daughter Irene (Carla Campra); her worst fears are confirmed when she gets a message saying Irene has been kidnapped and not to alert the police. The entire family becomes involved with major help from vineyard owner Paco (Bardem) as they start to work out who has her.

On paper, this is a story that should be extremely riveting and the psychological angle could be played really well, to truly bury into the audience’s skin and psyche, but it never quite attains that hopeful height. It instead feels at times like a melodramatic soap that would perhaps work as a serial drama in 4-6 parts on TV; with cliffhangers and new information causing you to eagerly await next week’s meaty episode. But as a 2-hour-plus film, it doesn’t quite maintain the suspense it deserves.

The most annoying feature of Everybody Knows, and what makes the earlier and much punchier moments feel like a distant dream, is having an ending that is so disappointing. Even the climb to the climax is less than exciting or tense so you sit there hoping the film will shift into a shocking gear for the actual end, but it goes out on a white-screen whimper.

There are some strong qualities throughout though; most of these transpire from the majestic performances, not solely from real-life couple Bardem and Cruz but from the large family unit too. One of the best parts of the film is in Farhadi’s assured handling of taking us from the spirited highs of a wedding and following party to the gut-crushing panic and grief of a kidnapping. The courtyard reception is a cheery blast and what with all the dancing you cannot help but get swept up in the happiness, even if you know full well that some danger could be lurking around the corner. In that feeling, this film excels wonderfully.

Also, along the way as suspicions build and the accusations begin squaring in on people close to home, the film does well by subtly drip-feeding in past relationships and family dramas to try and keep you guessing. Not everyone will see some of the revelations coming and therefore they’ll likely get a bit more out of the film, but the two major reveals are not exactly unpredictable and that is a real shame because a good twist could have saved this movie a lot.

Everybody Knows swells with incredible performances and a solidly crafted start, but like the church where the wedding takes place, which funds are needed to save, this film begins crumbling away to a less than impactful ending.

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