Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darin, Carla Campra
Run Time: 132 minutes
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
With her two children in tow, Laura (Cruz) arrives at her small hometown in Spain for her sister’s wedding, full of excitement for the upcoming nuptials. Her parents, town friends and extended family are all there to celebrate. Her eldest child Irene (Campra) is a bit of a rebel. Recklessly driving her boyfriend’s motorcycle, ringing the church bells at inopportune times and sneaking drinks and cigarettes. When she disappears, Laura first assumes she out partying, but her assumption turns to nightmare when she receives a text that Irene has been abducted. Laura’s longtime friend and ex-lover Paco (Bordem), takes the lead in finding Irene after he receives the ransom demand. When Laura’s husband Alejandro (Darin) arrives, family secrets and old animosities erupt as days pass and the tensions build. Finger pointing and accusations threaten to tear the family apart.
Set in a beautiful wine town outside Madrid, Farhadi creates a lovely authentic atmosphere. The textures, camera shots and lighting are wonderfully crafted by the master cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine. The performance by both Cruz and Bardem is Oscar worthy. Their onscreen chemistry is captivating (probably not in small part due to them being real life husband and wife). The tension between family members is palpable and we live the intensity of the terrifying situation. The use of hand-held cameras gives us the sense of being involved with the conversations
All that movie magic could have benefited though, with a bit more editing. Maybe another 30 minutes on the cutting room floor? The film tends to drag at times and some shots linger a bit too long to keep them pointed. If you’re not fluent in Spanish, it may feel like you’ve just spent a long time in the theater. That’s unfortunate, because otherwise it’s a smartly written, high-end who don-it
I give Everybody Knows a 4 out of 5.