Saturday 5 September 2009

Broken Embraces

To see Pedro Almodóvar’s latest outing for his favourite femme fatale, Penelope Cruz, last night. Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos) has a disjointed feel at first - it flits between events in 1992 and today, as it follows the fortunes of a film-maker who has been blinded as a result of a gradually evolving and occasionally surprising series of events. Critics have said this is the great Spanish director's most self-reflective film to date, which it is, though some have argued that it veers towards self-indulgence. I disagree. This is a good film, beautifully filmed, especially on Lanzarote, and with a captivating performance by Cruz and strong performances by all the other principals, particularly Lluís Homar as the blinded director Mateo Blanco and José Luis Gómez as the ruthless businessman and author of Blanco's misfortunes. The plot may be labyrinthine, but it is also wholly engrossing. And while it may not be a masterpiece like Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown or Talk to Her, it is ultimately a fine celebration of the redeeming power of cinema. Almodóvar fans will not be disappointed.

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