Broken Embraces

Pedro Almodavar's run-of-the-mill latest offering, starring Penelope Cruz

Trending Now

Pete Townshend looks back at The Who in 1967: “I don’t think I was angry”

Smashing guitars, hanging out with Small Faces and keeping Keith Moon onside

Mogwai: Album By Album

Founded in 1995 and initially a trio, Glasgow’s Mogwai made their debut with “Tuner/Lower”, a self-pressed seven-inch in thrall...

Introducing the new issue of Uncut

GETTING YOUR COPY OF THIS MONTH'S UNCUT DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR IS EASY AND HASSLE FREE - CLICK...

Introducing the Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Bob Marley

In-depths reviews and archive encounters with the reggae legend

Film review: Broken Embraces
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez


***

Every few years, Pedro Almodóvar makes a film that reminds you how magisterial his cinema can be – a Volver, an All About My Mother. But then he’ll tend to relapse into his routine idiosyncracies, as in Broken Embraces. His films can be uncomfortably navel-gazing, and that’s the case in this somewhat maudlin contemplation of the woes of film-making and the life artistic.

Not for the first time, Almodóvar’s narrative ingenuity gets the better of him in this convoluted tale of love, jealousy and madness centred around blind screenwriter ‘Harry Caine’ (Homar), who in happier years was director Mateo Blanco. A complex flashback structure traces the downfall of Mateo, as he meets Lena (Cruz), a secretary and sometime call girl fated for big screen glory.

The film takes in an opulently shot interlude on Lanzarote, as well as nods to Hitchcock, Buñuel’s Belle de Jour, Warhol’s paintings and Almodóvar’s own early style. Male lead Homar is lugubrious, but La Cruz radiates in her dressiest, most impish role yet. Yet even she, and the odd brilliant flourish, can’t save this otherwise minor exercise from the man of La Mancha.

Jonathan Romney

Advertisement

Latest Issue

The Who, New York Dolls, Fugazi, Peggy Seeger, Scritti Politti, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Israel Nash and Valerie June
Advertisement

Features

Advertisement