Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben)
Cannes 2018 kicks off to a slow start; Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish language Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben) opens the festival this year at a relatively meandering pace. The drama of the film surrounds a mother, Laura (Penélope Cruz), who returns to her provincial village for her sister’s wedding. The night takes a sharp turn when every parent’s worst nightmare becomes her reality: her teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) is kidnapped out from under her nose and is being held for ransom by unknown assailants. Secrets from the past involving Laura’s ex-lover Paco (Javier Bardem) surface and threaten to shatter the image of the perfect family as they race to collect the money to win her back.
What’s certainly an interesting premise for a suspense film doesn’t quite translate into the two-and-a-half-hour drama. Farhadi takes his time with the pacing of the narrative and although powerful in certain moments, the general effect is rather lethargic. Attempts to layer in great detail to supposedly imbue the story with richness instead feel more or less contrived; we’re given characters that have been so carefully crafted that the result is unnatural. In a movie that is clearly based in reality and not in a stylised world of sorts, less would have been more.
Penélope Cruz gives a stand-out performance as the distraught, grieving mother, which truly carries the film. Filling her scenes with a raw anguish, she manages to inspire empathy in spite of several lines that seem straight out of an afternoon soap. It’s a true testament to her unwavering acting chops.
Everybody Knows veers a little too close to melodrama and doesn’t appear to have the self-awareness to either roll with it or reassess. Farhadi is a talented director who perhaps indulged a little too much with this one. Unfortunately, there are too many specifics and too much time and we have ended up with a wash.
Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Everybody Knows (Todos lo Saben) here: