Everybody Knows – No Spoiler Review

Everybody Knows is the new film by the Iranian director and screenwriter Asghar Farhadi, with the Academy-Award winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and the famous Argentine actor Ricardo Darin. The film opened the Cannes Film Festival 2018. Here is the review.

It all starts with a wedding. Laura returns to Spain, after many years, for her sister’s imminent wedding. With her there are two children, Irene and the youngest whose name doesn’t come to my mind, while her husband stays in Argentina. In Spain, she will see all his family and also Paco, his close childhood friend and ex-boyfriend. During the wedding, Irene is kidnapped and a ransom is demanded. Everything brings the family into a chasm that will lead them to unveil their masks.

Farhadi’s style is so recognizable even if he venture into a genre. Although the film is definitely a thriller, with parts of really great suspense, the screenplay no longer aims to build the mystery and suspense, but the construction of the pain of Laura and the family, as well as social criticism, thus continuing the vein of Farhadi.

The abduction of Irene will bring to the surface unresolved issues, secrets and hard truths that the family must face. All the characters will show their darker side, revealing their true being.

The problem, though, is that this dramatic side of the film is not as powerful as Farhad’s films use to be. The big secret is very obvious, and the other events of the whole family are weak to support the entire film, while the solution to the mystery is surprising.

Farhadi’s direction is, of course, excellent. This is also very in line with the previous work of the Iranian director. The construction of the scenes also surprised me. Generally when you want to make a very emotional film, you use many close-ups. Instead, in Everybody Knows, there are few, but this does not hinder the empathy. You can feel empathy even when the characters are turned back (I refer to a scene in the film).

There are also faults. Small errors of continuity, some shots perhaps had to be changed. But a very good direction.

Very great are the interpretations of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. She was definitely stellar. I heard every single tear.

Summing up, Everybody Knows is certainly not the best work of Farhadi, but it is still a quality film and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 75/100

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