Knows (Todos lo saben)
You know, a botched kidnapping will ruin a good wedding every time.
Laura (Penelope Cruz) travels all the way from Buenos Aires to
Spain to attend her sister's wedding.
She brings her two children, a teenage girl and a little boy, but
her husband didn't come. She
says he had to work. And
that's the first of many lies.
The teenage daughter, Irene (Carla Campra), is kind of a handful.
She spots a cute local boy and immediately goes out with him on his
motorcycle, no helmets. She's
a more reckless driver than he is. She
is also more adventurous about exploring the old belfry in the cathdral,
where pigeons roost and the bells still chime loudly, yes, even during the
wedding service itself, where the priest unashamedly asks for more money
for the parish. And commends
Laura's absent husband for his past generosity.
While the wedding itself is awkward, thanks to the priest's
careless begging, the reception is lively and carefree.
Everybody seems to be having a great time.
Irene, uncharacteristically, goes to bed early because she's not
feeling well. Then the lights
suddenly go out; it seems a power line is down.
Undeterred, the guests party on with a generator that a family
friend, Paco (Javier Bardem) brings from his vineyard.
Paco, it seems, is more than a family friend, he was once Laura's
lover. They grew up together
because Paco's Mom was the live-in maid.
Paco has done well for himself because Laura sold him the family
farm, at a time when she and her husband, Alejandro, needed the money.
But it turns out that decision is still resented by the rest of the
family, all these years later. When
Laura's irascible father gets drunk, he shouts his still-lingering
resentment to anyone who will listen.
When Irene disappears, they all search frantically, the bride still
in her wedding dress. Irene is
nowhere to be found. Then
Laura receives a ransom note from the kidnappers.
And no police. So the
first horrific decision the family must make is whether to call the
police, anyway, despite the dire warnings.
Of course, Laura is beside herself.
Paco helps in the search, but his lovely wife, Bea (Barbara Lennie)
starts to resent what seems to her to be his oversolicitousness.
Laura refuses to make a decision about calling the police until
Alejandro (Ricardo Darin) shows up. Everyone
knows that he's out of work, and has been for two years.
Everyone knows that he was an alcoholic, and the family thinks
Laura could have done much better. Everyone
knows that you don't give ransom money to kidnappers, or else they will
just do that again to somebody else, but the longer this goes on, the more
desperate everybody becomes. And
everybody knows what happens when the situational pressure cooker turns up
the heat: raw emotionals are
laid bare, and costly secrets slip out.
Writer and Director Asghar Farhadi keeps us memerized with the
implications of a conspiracy with a possible traitor.
He's not afraid to show us many mood changes in a matter of
minutes. Though the
non-Spanish speaking viewers will be frustrated with the English
subtitles, the actors are strong enough to carry us through the dangling
conversations, and the story is complex enough to keep us guessing to the