The feeling of coming down after watching a well-executed, intense thriller cannot be replicated by anything else. Your mind races through various plot points after a sudden ending, forcing you to reevaluate every character’s actions throughout the film. A brilliant whodunnit only comes around once in a while, and Asghar Farhadi’s newest feature Everybody Knows is now one of them. The two-time Oscar Award-Winning Iranian filmmaker has deftly woven family drama (with a touch of melodrama), classism, and a beautifully-bereft Spanish landscape to create a thriller which will certainly stay with audiences for years to come.
Farhadi has assembled perhaps the only Spanish performers equivalent to an Avengers-like team up of those performers who are at the height of their powers, including the never-better Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Both of these performers have had their chance to shine in many mainstream roles (Bardem’s Silva in the James Bond film Skyfall is the series’ best-performed villain by a lightyear), but the script in Everybody Knows gives these two a chance to perform melodrama with a subtlety never before seen in this specific kind of thriller. The history between the characters of this family, as well as those outside of its inner circle, are fascinating. We learn a lot, but many of the supposed truths found throughout the film’s surprising second and third acts are brilliantly implied.
The film doesn’t feel the need to explicitly state these circumstances either, in order to “dumb it down” for the audience. The scenes that play out when they are all together flow in such an organic fashion that these many revelations can be implied from their varying tones and facial expressions. At once, you suspect everyone and no one at the same time. The mystery that unravels is expertly-crafted, and leaves the film retroactively reconstructed in the viewer’s mind’s eye. I have a suspicion that this film rewards repeat viewings, and if I am correct, I would not be surprised if this film falls high on my list of favorite 2018 films. No film at this year’s HIFF thus far has me more than excited to check out a director’s prior work than Everybody Knows.