Broken Embraces (15)
Friday 28 August 2009
After a run of world-class films that began 10 years ago with All about My Mother, Pedro Almodóvar has slightly taken his foot off the pedal here.
There is much to admire in the silky editing and kaleidoscopic narrative of this movie-inflected melodrama, though having set up its plot beautifully in the first hour the film somehow muffs the resolution of its multiple intrigues. Echoing Bad Education, it concerns a blind screenwriter, Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), who's hiding from his former identity as film-maker Mateo Blanco. Flashing back to the early 1990s we find Blanco involved in a passionate affair with Lena (Penélope Cruz), herself balancing a double identity as a humble PA and an aspiring actress – she will star in Blanco's new movie "Girls and Suitcases", itself a reworking of Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It's pleasant to get lost in this maze of doubles and duplicates, and to spot other movies in its densely allusive texture. Yet it's never truly exciting or affecting, and it doesn't take the emotional risks of, say, Talk to Her. Almodóvar shares with Alfred Hitchcock a natural obsession with movies and loves to quote them, which is fine as far as it goes; but the complexity of its plotting is not answered by a comparable sophistication of feeling. The director is toying with us, he knows it, and he knows we know it. This isn't a dud, it's just a small disappointment.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 2 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
After Sam Smith’s Mobo success, is the help of a pushy parent the surest route to stardom?
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts