Um, not that Pedro

No, not this Pedro.

This is a review of Pedrom Almodovar’s latest picture, Broken Embraces.  For more on baseball Pedro, please go here.

Anyone who’s a real fan of movies knows the name Almodovar; whether you like his films or not, his vision is singular and you’re usually not indifferent to them.  Some of his best, in my opinion, are certainly Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Volver, and the underrated Bad Education.  And he’s at least as famous for showing the world that Penelope Cruz, after the debacle of her early Stateside pictures (Vanilla Sky, anyone?  All the Pretty Horses?), that she can seriously act with a capital ‘A’; it’s hard to think of Vicky Cristina Barcelona without Almodovar paving the way.

Which is why, to me, his latest–and 16th!–picture, Broken Embraces, is a bit of a surprising toss-up:  Beautifully shot, interestingly constructed (he has almost no respect, as ever, for linear story-telling, and doesn’t refreshingly, ever explain) and well acted, it doesn’t add up to all the much, and when it’s all said and done, I found it hard to empathise.

Yeah, not this Pedro either

It’s an enjoyable trip to the movies (sexy, with terrific visual images of filmmaking and women and the love of both) and Cruz shines in his movies as ever.  And it times it reminded me of a meditation on a similar, trippier, better film about the myth of film:  David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr.  And even if you don’t always follow the plot perfectly, well…  that’s incidental.

An old friend of our family’s introduced me to Almodovar, and even for a foreign film lover he absolutely went for his films.  But I couldn’t help but thinking here he’d react oddly indifferent, the same way:  Certainly not his worst (he’s not really capable of pure, unironic bad), but not his best, either.


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