There is a cinematographic genre —television, in this case— markedly urban planning and Catalan, in which the protagonists live disproportionate big shots, minimalist, extremely modern. Of those with a lot of glass and a lot of stone, of clinical coldness and Italian design furniture. From four million euros up. Its inhabitants are not brokers or soccer players or soccer agents or youtubers. They are psychiatrists, lawyers or, mind you, high school teachers. Also housewives. And they all drive an SUV. It is an aspirational impossible style in which, in addition, many things happen, very convoluted and of doubtful credibility. And at the same time it is tremendously addictive as it places the viewer in a detective position to solve the ‘agathachristian’ enigma and his range of false culprits. Almost all of them begin with a crime, a hook, and almost always the question that arises is who did it and why. Meanwhile, while the viewer solves the crime, the camera pans over the miserable lives of the poor rich: infidelities, mistreatment, fiscal problems and AMPA meetings. The drama.
Trailer for ‘Everybody Lies’
What in the United States was ‘Big Little Lies’, here it pretends to be ‘Everybody lies’, the latest series from Barcelona Pau Freixas, which opens in Movistar + this January 28. Seasoned on TV3, Freixas directed several episodes of the television adaptation of ‘Pulseres vermelles’ (‘Red Bracelets’), by Albert Espinosa, and which also had its American version. And French. And German. He also created for Netflix the comedy series ‘Welcome to the family ‘(‘ Welcome to the family ‘) Y for Telecinco ‘I know who you are’. And the staging that he has opted for on this occasion is appreciated, in ‘Todos mienten’, with difficult camera choreographies of an almost sequence shot dragged by the characters that cross each other, with the narrative use of depth of field and without emphasize with inserts and unnecessary details. But he also sins repetitive at times and excessively discursive, with moments in which this or that character explains his most hidden motivations out loud, suddenly and in a long rant. And with a persistent orchestrated leitmotif, like a classic thriller.
Freixas offers a jigsaw puzzle time jumps and point of view changes for the viewer to complete the sequence of events that led to the appearance of a corpse in the (apparently) idyllic Belmonte urbanization, located in an undetermined place on the coast. Soon we will know that the trigger will be the leak of a sexual video between Iván (Lucas Nabor), an 18-year-old student, and Macarena (Irene Arcos), his teacher. The environment in which we move is that of people who call Macarena not ‘Maca’, but ‘Mac’. In the urbanization everyone has a relationship with everyone: either they are brothers or ex-wives or brothers-in-law or best friends. The endogamia from the posh housing estates, I guess.
Irene Arcos engages from the first frame and gives his character a magnetic charisma. The dignity of a woman whose world collapses as a result of the sexual video: her husband (Leonardo Sbaraglia) abandons her, her friends —one of them Natalia Verbeke, who in turn is the boy’s mother— turn their backs on him and could face charges of sexual abuse if he had had a relationship with Iván when he was a minor. Vilified, harassed and rejected, Macarena tries to discover who has leaked the video and continue with her life, until the appearance of a corpse at the bottom of a ravine. And the investigations will bring to light the dirty laundry of the community in which, in addition, they’re all potential killers, they all have motives, and they’re all lying.
Freixas has assembled a ‘dream team’ style cast: Miren Ibarguren, Amaia Salamanca, Sbaraglia, Juan Diego Botto, Ernest Alterio and Carmen Arrufat (the protagonist of ‘La inocencia’, nominated for a Goya for Best New Actress in 2020). And also retrieves Eva Santolaria in the role of mother and hyper-controlling neighbor, insistent leader of the opposition to the protagonist. Very well built characters at the service of a plot that chains turning points to trick the viewer in their investigations. Freixas balances the cold, orthopedic environment of urbanization with the dramatic intensity of Mediterranean character: here, unlike the Pennsylvania of ‘Mare of Eastown’, we yell and make a lot of fuss.
Unlike the series starring Kate Winslet, in ‘Everyone Lies’ that sublayer of social reflection is missing or commitment to the moment. There are also drugs, there are also unwanted pregnancies and there are also personal grudges. But in the stiff and post-produced environment of the Belmonte urbanization no room for analysis nor the question of class. In ‘Big Little Lies’, in the same luxurious environment, topics such as mistreatment or racism were touched on, and the character of Shailene Woodley he came from a more unfavorable economic context; that is, realistic.
However, with this series he shares addictive capacity and self-awareness —there is even a referential and explicit gag from ‘Thelma and Louise’— that makes her not take herself too seriously, which is appreciated. ‘Everyone lies’ is a soap opera, it’s a ‘thriller’, it’s a school melodrama and it’s a black comedy. ‘Everyone Lies’ is a roller coaster of emotions, of carefully assembled pieces and, suddenly, turns in the face, of tremendousness and pathos, of stupidity and genius. It’s a binge series, of playing to anticipate, pure entertainment, of discovering (the one who writes) the acting talent of Irene Arcos and Lucas Nabor. Of people who frequent the horse club and consult their investment portfolio. It’s another series of poor rich people.