Rob Reviews "Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben)"
Writer/director Asghar Farhadi is known for his heavy subject matter in films like “The Salesman” and “A Separation,” and his latest in “Everybody Knows (Todos Le Saben)” is truly no exception. Real life husband and wife Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz star as friends and former lovers whose family and friends come together for a wedding in Madrid. Laura (Cruz) comes from Argentina with her two children for the event: a lavish party in a beautiful village that is nothing short of a fairy tale. As the celebration is in full swing with dancing, drinking, music, and laughs, it all turns sideways when Laura’s daughter disappears, throwing everything into chaos. With Laura’s husband back in Buenos Aires, she relies on her family as well as Paco (Bardem) to put the clues together as old wounds are re-opened, secrets are revealed, and EVERYONE is suspect.
Do not let the fact that this film is subtitled from Spanish keep you away from it; “Everybody Knows” is full of suspense and intensity. One of the things that I really enjoyed about this story that it does not fall into the typical trap of mysteries where when there is no clear cut suspect that each and every person does that “looking over my shoulder as people leave as to cast a shadow on what may or may not be my motives”. This was the rare occasion that even though I had a fair amount of assurance of who had taken Irene (Carla Campra), I was still not willing to put my money on the table at any point (and I will say this… I’m glad I didn’t; that’s all I’m saying). The cast here (outside of Bardem and Cruz, I had not been familiar with any of the rest) is solid, creating tension so thick it could be cut with a napkin in stark contrast to the joy of the wedding celebration with what seemed complete and total ease. There is also very little score here so as to not take away from what is going on in this story, and I felt this was a plus especially given the fact that the tension and heart-pounding emotion was still there.
If there is a criticism here, it is the pacing. I have very little doubt that the very definition of a slow burn that this film is was deliberate in order for the audience to feel the pain and terror that Laura, Paco, and everyone else feels, but it got too much for a film that runs two hours and fifteen minutes. The first act alone seemed to move at the pace of a turtle on an oil slick, and there felt like there was too much setup done before the wedding itself (which just kind of started with no buildup in an odd contrast), and it didn’t really pick up steam once the meat of the story happened. Again, this was probably the intention, but I am not sure that about fifteen to twenty minutes could have been trimmed.
“Everybody Knows” is one of those films that should get more attention than it may get since it is a foreign film that will probably not see a large distribution in the States, but even though I am not sure I could take in a second viewing of it outside of watching it with those who have not seen it to see how it unfolds for them, it is definitely worth a viewing in the comfort of your own home.