A filmmaker comes to terms with his tragic past after the death of an old acquaintance.
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At The Movies
Broken Embraces (PG) * * * * *
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Stars: Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homak
Rating: * * * * *
Audience Suitability: PG
Studio: Mongrel Media
Release Date: Dec. 12, 2009
Running Time: 127 Minutes
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Looks like Pedro Almodovar has done it again. One of Spain’s natural treasures continues his winning ways as a director of renown with Broken Embraces, a must see sexy thriller from Mongrel Media now enticing audiences at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Right in the Hitchcock tradition Broken Embraces is a smart, thinking suspense tale that reels you in through very smart execution.
Like so many others Almodovar relies on a back and forth flashback technique to flesh out this tale about a group of very passionate people. Early on we see the plight of Mateo Blanco, a blind man well presented by Lluis Homak who makes a living as a writer. Known as Harry Caine in print Mateo leads a rather sheltered life under the watchful gaze of manager Judit Garcia. Blanco Portillo shows lots of poise as Mateo’s overseer. Both people, however, hold back some very dark secrets which take us back in time to see how Mateo’s condition became so precarious.
Penelope Cruz Sizzles at Centre of Love Triangle
Flashbacks reveal a woman was a the heart of Mateo’s problems. Young and beautiful Lena represented what most men want in a woman. Penelope Cruz is stunning as this would be actress who falls under the spell of Mateo. Unfortunately for Mateo this woman is already spoken for by way of a rich industrialist, Ernesto Martel. Handsome and debonair Jose Luiz Gomez embodies power and his grip on Lena is unbreakable. Still, Lena falls under the spell of Mateo in an affair not soon forgotten.
Suspense abounds in Broken Embraces as does standout performances. Numerous side plots enter into the tale of a woman caught between two forceful men with apparently no way out. Things change quickly in this tug of war over emotions in a stupendous movie about jealousy, lust, competition, secrets and family pride.
Shades of Hitchcock Surface in Tense Almodovar Sassy Thriller
Almodovar succeeds here in building up tremendous uncertainty as these characters change over time in a tale bursting with cleverness and raw energy. Emotional sparks fly between Cruz and the two men who fawn over her. Modern elements are also thrown into the mix complete with drugs, rock and roll and a very astute look at the art of filmmaking. And the lengths some people will go to keep tabs on their lovers has never been better portrayed on screen in such a fresh, new and brilliant way.
A student of the cinema, Almodovar has cleverly blended elements of soap operas and classic Alfred Hitchcock –like matinee thrills to pull off a true masterpiece that gets bolder and better with each passing frame. Accompanied by a terrific musical score that conveys the very essence of lovers and those with intense jealousies, Broken Embraces is a flawless foreign film that looks and sounds good in any language. Told in Spanish with English subtitles Broken Embraces is one of the best foreign films this year and not to be missed.
Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com