But – you know what’s coming next — it just didn’t live up to expectations. The main problem is that Everybody Knows (originally Todos los Saben) can’t quite keep the audience’s expectations alive, not because the audience knows what’s coming next but because it keeps on coming to a standstill. In Farhadi’s earlier films, the suspense and the drama were intimately intertwined and kept us going till the end but here, they seem to be at loggerheads.
The plot follows the eruption of the ugly secrets and the corruption of supposedly close bonds after the disappearance of Laura’s (Cruz) live wire teenage daughter at a busy family gathering. The family status of Paco (Bardem), the son of the family’s former servant who’s acquired the family vineyard, proves particularly contentious as does his previous relationship with Laura which sets their respective spouses (Barbara Lennine and Ricardo Darín) on edge.
The film plays to Farhadi’s strengths: displaying the fundamental shakiest of all family relationships. He also gives the lead duo room to show off their skills (even though Bardem is given meatier chunks of dialogue), and makes a departure from his characteristic claustrophobic camera work by taking in some of that rugged Spanish countryside. But it almost gives the stars too much space to breathe in and room to roam. The drama overtakes the thriller.
Under the weight of frequent dramatic revelation, the thread of intrigue, of whodunit, goes slack. Everybody Knows is not (in our opinion) overly predictable but it only manages to throw us off the scent by throwing itself off balance. It sort of plays out like a long session of Jenga, falling flat to be put back together again.
But – and this has to be acknowledged – it is put together extremely well. It’s completely fitting that Farhadi’s last film, The Salesman, took its cue from Arthur Miller and his seminal The Death of a Salesman. In another life, Farhadi could have taken is place next to that playwright as one of the finest purveyors of the modern well-made play. But well wrought plays don’t necessarily make for great films. It is diligent at laying a trail of breadcrumbs but it could take a leaf out of the Hitchcock, or even Haneke, playbook and lay some guesswork in the audience’s lap, to suggest, perhaps, that there still remain things that not everybody knows.
This film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2018. The UK release date is yet to be announced.
|What||Everybody Knows film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
13 Sep 18 – 13 Sep 19, TIMES VARY
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|