Broken Embraces

Broken Embraces

Almodovar & Cruz always bring out the best in each other - Mick Jordan

10 Points

Viewer Rating:Mick Jordan has rated Broken Embraces rating: 4 Star

When a well established and respected film-maker makes a film about a well established and respected film-maker, you wonder is he starting to run out of ideas. But when that film-maker is Pedro Almodovar (and the film stars Penelope Cruz) you know that could never be the case. Throughout his career Almodovar has always been strikingly original whether with the surreal madness of his early comedies or the compelling melodrama of his more recent work. And 'Broken Embraces' is a full blown melodrama. A story of love, betrayal, tragedy and redemption; of death, family, sex and – holidays in Lanzarote. Lluis Homar plays Harry Caine a blind writer who used to be the director Mateo Blanco. When he learns of the death of wealthy businessman Ernesto Martel (Jose Luis Gomez) he is reminded of the events of fourteen years ago when he was shooting his last film “Girls and Suitcases”. Events which led to it being his last film – and to his being blind. The film is produced by the businessman and stars his mistress Lena (Cruz ), with whom Lluis quickly starts a passionate affair, all secretly filmed for his suspicious father by Ernesto Jr. who is supposed to be making a documentary on the set. Love, betrayal, family etc. all leading inevitably to tragedy and death. And to a disastrous reception for “Girls and Suitcases” when it is released. As the film progresses, more and more revelations about the past come to light but in a calm leisurely manner and while they may surprise, at the same time they seem obvious, logical developments of what had gone before. This is not a film of plot twists and turns but a story that follows its own natural course. The film ends with a completed clip from “Girls and Suitcases” which is blatant in its referral to Almodovar's own “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” right down to the Gazpacho laced with sleeping tablets. And so Mateo Blanco's last film is really a version of the film that first launched Pedro Almodovar onto the international scene.

Review published on the 23 September 2009 11:36

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