Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Broken Embraces. A-

Broken Embraces has been called a noir since its release, and yet in the advertisements I couldn't understand why. Besides the poster, which features a frightened Penelope Cruz in a desperate situation, the movie looked like pure melodrama. But seeing the movie gave a different impression, one that was hard to pick up in the trailers for the film. This is a noir-Almodovar style. A classic story line in film noir is a man who is confronted by someone in the present and in turn forced to look back upon his past. In Broken Embraces there's a similar set up. A blind filmmaker meets a man who wants to collaborate with him on a new movie. The blind filmmaker refuses, only to realize that the man is the son of an enemy from the old days. Like Out of the Past, the protagonist then relates to his son the story of his early days. It's a story of love, passion, and revenge, but instead of using a crime element, Almodovar uses the cinema. So this is a noir, and also a movie about movies, probably the best combination of the two since Sunset Blvd. Broken Embraces is rich and easy to look at thanks Almodovar's trademark use of bright colors and lush settings. If there's a problem it's that he compromises the intensity of the story by allowing too much melodrama to seep in at the end. But otherwise it's hard not to love this movie because it's so clear that the man behind the camera loves it too.

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