everybody knows

DIRECTOR: Asghar Farhadi (the salesman, the past)
STARRING: penelope cruz, javier bardem, carla campra, and ricardo darin

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Laura and her two children travel from Argentina to Spain to attend her sister's wedding. The joyful reunion soon turns tragic when her older daughter gets kidnapped -- revealing a dark web of hidden secrets.

Sometimes things start so well. Like the All Blacks against France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. It started with great promise and ended so badly. Unfortunately thats a lot like Everybody Knows

Laura has returned home to Spain to attend her sisters wedding. While there she reconnects with family and her childhood friend Paco. But during the wedding reception her teenage daughter Irene disappears quickly followed by a ransom note. As her family and friends search for Irene, a whole lot of secrets that appeared to be long buried seep to the surface. 

Everybody Knows starts so well. There is a depth to the characters, theres the beauty of the family, the village, the culture and the palpable joy of the wedding ceremony. It has a relational depth that seems so real. 

When Irene goes missing the fear, agony, and adrenaline rush of losing her and then trying to find readily seeps from the screen. But its the third and final act that severely damages Everybody Knows. 

Fans of art house film will tell you that its a slow burn character driven mystery film and the beauty is in the acting and the relational dynamics. Its true that the acting is superb (Penelope Cruz is devastatingly good) but although the film does have intriguing characters there is still the mystery of Irene's disappearance to solve - its a key driver of the plot. 

And the way in which the film unfurls that part of the plot is just so darn slow - the pacing is really off. It feels like the third act drags for way longer than it actually does and you figure out the Irene mystery faster than the characters do.

 

An intriguing beginning thats unfortunately let down by a drawn out final act.

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