Live Flesh (Carne trémula) (1998)
Pedro Almodovar's most mature and restrained film is a superbly structured melodrama about five people whose lives in modern Madrid are inextricably linked by a bullet fired in a police scuffle.
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Critic Reviews for Live Flesh (Carne trémula)
The overall purpose of Live Flesh, the latest and reputedly most 'mature' work from Spanish bad-boy director Pedro Almodovar, remains engigmatic.
Almodovar seems more assured here, confident that he can interest us without overt winking and tomfoolery.
Almodovar, whose work here has newly sophisticated polish, appreciates the dark twists of this story along with the eroticism that bring heat to all the scheming.
Despite his erotic fixations, Pedro Almodóvar is the cinema's last true innocent.
The film also feels curiously underpopulated, unenlivened by any sparky character bits.
Very much an Almodovar picture with most of the anticipated outrageous occurrences intact.
Pedro Almodovar has done something nearly unheard of: he has made a wheelchair movie without maudlin sentiment and overbearing importance. Even better, it's actually rather enjoyable.
Another offbeat Almodovar treat - with another compelling Bardem performance.
gripping and gorgeous
Witness the increasing promise of Pedro Almodóvar, in a film that has gone largely unnoticed in his career but stands as a worthy and mostly mainstream entry into his unique style of twisted relationship movies.
The film lacks the anarchic weirdness of some of his best, and without the camp elements it becomes obvious just how like a telenovela the goings-on are.
It's an impressive display of range from one of film's true maverick talents.
While despair underlies Almodovar's film...the director attempts to lighten up with some misplaced jokes. These, though, are never any more than a brief respite from the irritating mess in which the characters embroil themselves.
The real trouble with this movie is that it represents the continuing departure of Almodovar from the chaotic, riotous and anti-social roots that gave his best movies their zest.
Almodovar has a keen eye with the camera, and this helps keep us interested. His love of coincidence also creates some moments of the unexpected.
Audience Reviews for Live Flesh (Carne trémula)
Javier Bardem, and Liberto Rabal, are easy on the eyes and make the movie worth watching. It's a mildly interesting story, somewhat predictable, and with its fair share of slow moments. And as is so often the case in Almodovar movies, the intense connection between characters is shown through melodrama...not character development. If you are a fan of Almodovar, you will enjoy this. I, apparently, am not really a fan. I don't think that I have really liked any of his movies too much.More
I've only seen three other Almodovar movies and they all impressed me immensely, but Live Flesh is sort of a dud. The last thing I would call this, contrary to its Flixster page, is "restrained"; those telenovela moments that Almodovar is so good at concocting are pretty much the only thing keeping this movie alive. There are plenty of hysterical dramatic highlights, like a birth on a bus, an unhappy lover bombarding her husband with hairspray, a shootout in an apartment, and a terrifically bloody climax. The rest of the movie is inert and dramatically unchallenging, trying to bill itself as subdued, but let's call a spade a spade here. This is a prototype for Almodovar's later formula - a fusion of campy melodrama and quiet human introspection - but despite some strong ideas, this overarching story isn't strong enough to sustain said formula. It's too simple and sort of random; none of the characters seem to behave with much thought.
I dunno, I'm not too coherent about this one but I really didn't care for it. Maybe it's me.
The more I see of Bardem, the more I like him. Given that my first notice of him came via No Country for Old Men -- which you must see for his performance in that one -- I grow more and more to appreciate what an amazing range he has. This film too, like In Bruges, is a kind of fairy tale, albeit not one you would read to your kiddies at bedtime. A great cast brings a very intricate story of love, revenge, and redemption to beautiful fruition, and I'm getting to appreciate Penélope Cruz more and more in all kinds of ways : ) Oh yeah, baby!More
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