Broken Embraces

BROKEN EMBRACES (Sony, 2009) D: Pedro Almodovar, w/ Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar. Rating: NNN DVD package: NNN Rating: NNNFrom the.


BROKEN EMBRACES (Sony, 2009) D: Pedro Almodovar, w/ Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar. Rating: NNN DVD package: NNN Rating: NNN

From the start of his career, director Pedro Almodovar has shown a love of 40s noir melodrama and women’s pictures. Broken Embraces has all the elements: the rich old man with the young mistress, her secret affair, a terrible crime, revenge, betrayal, obsessive love, the poisonous effect of the past on the present and creepy minor characters. It also has some lovely noirish shadows and suspense music.

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But the story plays out in decidedly unmelodramatic ways. Big revelations are received calmly. One crime fades away and a stranger one rises up only to receive an almost throwaway resolution.

Given the evocative final line and the fact that the main story is told in flashback by a blind film director, it’s tempting to regard this as a comment by Almodovar on his art. That view gets support from the film-within-the-film, a brightly coloured farce called Girls And Suitcases reminiscent of early 80s Almodovar.

There’s more of Girls And Suitcases in the extras. Check out The Cannibalistic Councillor segment for a hilarious and obscene rant. There’s also a good segment of Almodovar directing Penelope Cruz, whose radiant presence and strong performance make Broken Embraces thoroughly enjoyable as a straightforward drama with a dash of suspense.

EXTRAS Cannibalistic Councillor vignette, Almodovar directs Cruz, Cruz interview, deleted scenes. Widescreen. Spanish, French audio. English, French subtitles.

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