Movie Review: Everybody Needs To Know About 'Everybody Knows'

Everybody Knows Todos lo saben Laura Penelope Cruz Paco Javier Bardem
Everybody needs to know that writer/director's Asghar Farhadi dramatic thriller “Everybody Knows” (“Todos lo saben”) is a must-see. The film opens with the high hopes of a wedding. A happy occasion, which has drawn Penรฉlope Cruz's Laura back to her original home in a quaint village in Spain.

Laura is accompanied by her teenage daughter, Irene (Carla Campra), and younger son. Her husband (a fantastic Ricardo Darรญn) ended up not coming at the last moment. Among those still living in Laura's hometown is her close-knit family and her former flame, Paco (Javier Bardem).

Any romantic tension between the former couple is non-existent as there are no traces of the pair's history in their interactions. Paco and Laura both seem happily married and moved on from that chapter of their lives. Regardless, as one character tells another, “everybody knows,” and it is a powder keg just ready to get exploited.

All of the fun and festivities eventually come to an abrupt halt when Laura makes a horrifying discovery. Her daughter has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. From this point forward, “Everybody Knows” exists as a compelling thriller with years of secrets serving as an undercurrent of constant drama and suspicion.

Make no mistake. “Everybody Knows” is gripping right from the start as the ties both acknowledged and not, form a knot that gets tighter the more it is pulled. There is lots of family drama, romantic intrigue, and of course, that ransom-driven kidnapping.

It is important to note that it is a thriller that viewers can invest in. This is not one of those films with open-ended/inconclusive resolutions that make the plot feel pointless. The drama and the mystery are equally as crucial to the narrative.

“Everybody Knows” has a knowledgeable grip on its story. It continually reminds the audience of how arresting it is with every text message and family meeting that is received and held. The suspect pool growing and shrinking in rapid succession.

Asghar Farhadi's direction is sublime, as is the texture of his script. It is dense, layered, and filled to the brim with enough answers to satiate curiosity. Yet still leaving the door open to speculative thought afterward. All of the interactions between the characters bite with a realistic awkwardness and genuine ease.

This is the kind of movie you watch the medium (and Netflix) in hopes of seeing. “Everybody Knows” is a human drama where the suspense of a kidnapping plays with the real feel such a terrifying scenario would unleash. There is no action hero ready to take down the bad guys, or an intrepid detective working his last case to come in and save Irene.

“Everybody Knows” has everything. A light-hearted opening quarter that lulls the audience into feeling safe. A sentiment many have undoubtedly felt as the unimaginable lies in wait. It is this aspect that makes Asghar Farhadi's work all the more haunting.

Complimenting the atmosphere is the work of cinematographer Josรฉ Luis Alcaine. He delivers an unvarnished feast for the eyes, as his lensing compels the viewer’s eye even further. Not since “Sicario” has cinematography proved so clearly pivotal.

Penรฉlope Cruz and Javier Bardem both give phenomenal performances, alongside an impressive ensemble. Cruz portrays the heights of a mother and daughter's happiness before she is plunged into grief-stricken fear and despair. Accordingly, Bardem shines just as brightly as the good-hearted Paco. A role he imbues with soulful nuance, grace, and poise.

Cruz and Bardem always work well together and “Everybody Knows” is another stellar outing for the duo. They are such powerful actors in their own right. Together, they are an on-screen force that is unstoppable.

“Everybody Knows” is an astonishingly crafted thriller with sound drama at its core. It is one of 2019’s best releases in the U.S. and an absolute must-see. One of the few movies to stir such an intense sentiment.

Rating: 9/10

As of September 2019, “Everybody Knows” (“Todos lo saben”) is currently streaming on Netflix, along with other content. If you have not seen it yet, it is well worth adding to the top of your queue, quickly.

[Featured Image by Focus Features]