(Hollywood Reporter, 2018)
The atmosphere surrounding Everybody Knows could be summed up in just a few words: classy, creative, comfortable, and spectacular! Complete with comfy leather seating, a classy bar in the foyer, the architecture and design that were incorporated into this studio was very easy on the eyes and creative. The only downside to the set up was perhaps the positioning of the screen itself, as I found it too close to the front rows of the audience for comfortable viewing. We experienced some technical issues on the night, setting the film back 20 minutes. One man, that had clearly read the summary of the film, stated maybe the film went missing with the girl in the picture, chuckles filling the cinema and making the situation somewhat more enjoyable. All guests did receive a complementary tea and coffee which was very tasty and kept the audience at ease as they waited to see what would be unveiled throughout the night.
Everybody Knows was a psychological Spanish thriller. Filled with such intense emotions that it could turn the coldest cheek, this film took place in Madrid. I did not want to tarnish my perception of the film nor hold any bias prior to watching it, thus I decided not to read any reviews before attending the screening. The motion picture posed a very deceitful introduction, the first few minutes showing a country drive, long roads with flourished mountains and greeneries. The scenes to follow next were of reunions between family and friends, all gathered to celebrate a wedding of a loved one. Humour was heavy, happiness was spreading through the atmosphere both within the movie and the black lot studio theatre.
During the wedding reception, the mood of the film took a change a sudden shift. Everything became dark, and Irene was kidnapped for a ransom. Death threats were made to Laura, Irene’s mother, a method of trying to force the family to withhold from contacting the local authorities whilst they awaited their $300,000 that they demanded to be given in exchange for Irene. Fingers were pointed in all directions about whom may be responsible. Due to her crazy energetic nature even, Irene was considered a suspect and people theorised that she could be playing a cruel joke at one stage. Soon the close friendships they all once possessed would be tested vigorously and left in shackles.
The video quality of this film was exceptionally good. Asghar Fahardi certainly managed to capture a look that was modern but also managed to keep an essence of the old-fashioned stereotypes that were typically seen in early Spanish film. Perhaps this was the intention of Asghar or perhaps the presence of the ancient buildings of Spain were so powerful that they were very influential on this movie.
I spoke to a member of the audience that comes from central America to ask how she felt about the movie. She told me that “this was a typical film that gets played in Spanish and Latin American countries.” Often there is a kidnapping, a ransom and the distrust and lack of loyalty from a loved one. The part of the film that took her most by surprise was the part about one of the family members playing a large role in the deception. Surprising, because family is supposed to stick together but this was not the case and by the end of the film, even the mother of the traitorous girl was withholding secrets to protect her daughter from the mistakes she had made. She went on further to state that when Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem get together magic always happens, the two actors bringing excellent chemistry to the camera.
I do agree with these statements. Sadly, it seems in modern times those who we trust most can often let us down and lead us astray. But I think the one thing this movie truly emphasised was the power of love and how much family and friends that truly care about each other are willing to do in order to help one another. In a perfect utopia everyone would live in accordance to this selfless behaviour. Perhaps someday.
Personally, I rate this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was generally a very well-done movie, quite expressive and captivating to the audience with the powerful acting performances. I feel with a more of a comedic twist, this film could have taken an interesting turn for the best. Some of the dramatization did seem a little forced at times, particularly when Penelope Cruz walked up the stairs calling her daughter that was clearly missing, which came out of nowhere. Bardem’s character also had some inconsistencies, appearing to find it hard to live up to his reputation of being a fun extraverted character and to keep a balance of being serious. There were a few moments where his acting performance reached a point where you didn’t know what to expect and things just became a little awkward.
I believe they did well and are great actors, but I do think this film could have taken a different angle and made the film both dramatic and comical in a way that could have truly been something else, something great.