Originally titled Todos lo Saben and written/directed by Asghar Farhadi, Farhadi has specialized in long-buried family secrets, grudges and jealousies. His writing and direction are precise, each new revelation fitting together as neatly as the gears in the tower clock opening shot. The cast is exemplary, from the leads down to the supporting players.
Everybody Knows stars two Oscar winners – Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem whose chemistry on-screen and off are undeniable. This sleuth style drama centers around a wedding, in which Laura’s daughter, Irene, disappears ala copy cat style amongst a thunderstorm, cut power lines and suspicions placed on every single family member.
With each twist and turn, the audience is left watching, waiting and wondering why Laura (Penelope Cruz) made the trio without her husband. Why she didn’t marry Paco (Javier Bardem), who would take Irene (Carla Campra) and why, is former cop now private investigator Fernando (Joe Angel Egido) operating with more information than he is revealing and why is Bea (Barbara Lennie) receiving the same text messages from Irene’s captors as Laura.
Bardem and Cruz’s characters are intriguing, interesting and posses an air of mystery that keeps you mesmerized as to whether or not Irene lives or dies. The random reveal of Alejandro (Irene’s Dad) and his unemployment/drinking issues does little to move the plot along and the longer it all moves the less you seem to care. Only when the final details are divulged and the screen fades to white during the final scene in the square, do you begin to care about what happens next.
Everybody Knows is a carefully crafted suspense thriller shining a spotlight on familial jealousy, unrequited love and how secrets slither their way to the surface no matter how hard the attempt is to keep them concealed.
Produced by Focus Features, Everybody Knows opened nationwide on February 8th.