Hey, hey! Penélope Cruz is back in the saddle! You so rarely see her on the big screen. And in a starring role, no less. Good, she’s underappreciated talent.
Anyway, the trailer doesn’t seem to give much away. She’s home for a celebration, but then I guess one of her kids get kidnapped, and that leads to her past catching up with her, whatever that is.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Penélope Cruz (ORIENT EXPRESS , ZOOLANDER 2 , PIRATES 4 , and the upcoming DOLOR Y GLORIA ), Javier Bardem (MOTHER!  and SKYFALL ), and Richardo Darín (THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing, we have Asghar Farhadi, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Composing the score is Javier Limón, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. The cinematographer is José Luis Alcaine, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming DOMINO (2018) and DOLOR Y GLORIA. Finally, the editor is Hayedeh Safiyari, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of.
Overall, I think this is either going to suck, or be good. Depends on the sense of urgency, as I didn’t get a sense of it in this trailer. We shall see.
This is my honest opinion of: TODOS LO SABEN / EVERYBODY KNOWS
Laura (Penelope Cruz) and her two children, her teenager daughter Irene (Carla Campra) and young son Diego (Ivan Chavero), have come home for a wedding. Family and friends embrace and everything is all smiles and happy celebrating. However, things take a drastic turn for the worst when Irene is drugged and kidnapped for ransom money. Soon begins a desperate attempt to scrounge for the money that the kidnappers are asking for, and the horrific possibility that the kidnappers aren’t strangers, but rather someone in the family.
Crap… I totally forgot this movie. Curse you, short-term memory! Or… maybe curse you, movie, for being forgettable? Let’s meet half-way and curse us both. There. Everyone gets a jab. Okay, digging through the file cabinet of my memories, I remember this movie being… okay, on the more positive side.
For most of the first act, it’s all about family and friends reuniting. Nothing about it is inherently bad. It feels like a real group that hasn’t seen each other in awhile, there’s happiness in the air due to the wedding, it’s all perfectly serviceable. I think I was a little put off by Irene’s personality, being a fairly rambunctious teen who rides motorcycles without helmets with random-ass cute boys, but it’s addressed and over and done with pretty quickly, so I wasn’t in a mood to freak out much as she does seem like a loving daughter and older sister. Except when she purposely rings the church bells when the rehearsal wedding is going on. That was rude.
As soon as the actual plot takes off, that’s when the movie gets a little more interesting. The acting is pretty damn good, especially from Cruz and Bardem. Cruz gets hysterical, but doesn’t sit around crying when push comes to shove. I mean, she does in a couple of scenes, but it serves the narrative when she has to play the waiting game for this and that reason.
I admit to enjoying how the atmosphere is set up. It’s revealed that the kidnappers may have been involved with the kidnapping of another young girl for ransom, but ended up murdering her at the end of that. The only thing that I may have disagreed with was putting so much emphasis on her name, Carmen. It’s like it’s trying to build up that she was related to someone in this group, but she wasn’t. Or did I miss something in the dialog? Still, that sense of urgency does kick in, everyone’s mood shifts perfectly when given new circumstances, so the movie is never boring.
I think it just hit me on why this movie didn’t leave much of an impact on me, and this will certainly be individual taste. I think it’s because it takes too long to get important information out. Let me be clear, little tidbits of information that factored into the reason why Irene was kidnapped are dropped in different intervals of the story. A proverbial piece of a puzzle, if you will, that ultimately paints the picture. The narrative structure of it is actually quite welcomed if you think about it (or if that even makes sense). I think where the movie trips over itself is in between the new information drops. The sense of desperation never quite rises enough for the audience to feel fully engaged. I can tell that the characters’ stress levels go up as the story progresses, but so much of it sort of dips into the realm of melodrama that doesn’t quite fit the emotions that the movie is intending. It’s never annoying, per se, it’s just… not pushed as far as it could go.
Give credit that the story is actually pretty good as the mystery unfolds. I might disagree with the ending, but the movie overall is good. The two leads are great, the chemistry between the other actors are great, and probably deserves to be seen. It’s just, as you can see, kind of forgettable. As a recommendation, I say that it’s worth a matinee or discount day. Definitely worth a rental when the time comes.
My honest rating for TODOS LO SABEN / EVERYBODY KNOWS: 4/5
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