Ok, I haven’t got round to seeing The September Issue yet, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and admit that Broken Embraces is the best film I have seen in a long time. While reviews I’ve read seem to consist of a jumble of opinions, I felt that Pedro Almodovar’s latest film was a good all rounder. It’s the kind of film that keeps you hooked right to the end, partially due to the interchanging between events in the nineties and noughties.
The plot centres around a blind film director, Harry Caine who, in a bid to forget the trauma of his past, has changed his name. One day, out of the blue a young man arrives at Caine’s house under the guise of a script writer, Caine is suspicious and rightfully so; the man is from his past. At this point the film rewinds back to the nineties where we meet Lena (Penelope Cruz), an aspiring actress who gets a part in one of Caine’s films thanks to her rich lover. From here the film escalates into violence and heartbreak, leading us full circle right back to the beginning. As a viewer you are left wondering what could have happened but while some explanations are predictable none are groan worthy. The themes of the film, such as jealousy, love, betrayal and loneliness are not new but are told in a way that doesn’t seem cliched or repetitive. Instead they appear to focus on the effects these subjects have on peoples lives and careers.
The film is a likely hit among fans of art and fashion. Cruz’s character is lucky enough to wear her fair share of vintage Versace & Chanel. The art in the film is also spectacular with many pricey pieces popping up in the house of Cruz’s lover, billionaire Ernesto Martell. The sets in Broken Embraces are wonderfully kitsch and very Spanish, in particular those of the film within the film, ‘Chicks & Handbags’. Visually, the film is typical of Almodovar who is considered the king of Spanish cinema by most.
Overall the film is a good, it plays around with time in a simple but effective way and doesn’t leave you feeling confused. Instead, you find yourself constantly second guessing what happened between time frames in order for Caine’s future to end up the way it does. Though some critics have pointed out the lack of emotions from the characters I feel that this acts as a more detached way to examine their behaviour. Plus, allowing the viewer to put themselves in the characters position and imagine their feelings is more effective than telling us how they feel.
If you haven’t seen Broken Embraces yet, get your ass to the cinema asap!
Published by WAH Magazine.com