Broken Embraces Reviews
Why would anyone recommend this movie, full of childishly lame characters, hilariously blunt dialogues, boring plot, and even bad performances?! OK, I got it. The only reason imaginable is (SPOILER ALERT!!!) the tits of Penelope Cruz! :-o ;)
(PS: in fact, the only reason I registered here to warn humankind that the current 81% score by critics is an obvious telltale sign of an international conspiracy! ;) DON'T TRUST THEM, fellow film-lovers!)
Lena, acted out by Penélope Cruz, is in a unhappy relationship with a older, quite powerful man that is absolutely obsessed with Lena. We switch from Mateo Blanco's life back then, and now - when he has reincarnated as Harry Caine - a longened pseudonym of his.
Pretty complex film, but not super hard to hang on too. It's smart and it looks lovely on screen. It's enjoyable to watch the story slowly opening up for you.
Mysterious and well acted film that makes you wonder. The opening scene with the blonde made me really curious and put me in a state that I should not believe everything being told here. A plus. Probably. It's rather slow and few moments are standing out - one of the weaker points here.
Well directed film but not Pedro's best - actually far from it. Still a really solid film that gives you an engaging story that need a lot of your focus.
7 out of 10 white canes.
"What's your name?" the woman asks.
"Harry Caine," he replies. But a voiceover shares that he used to be Mateo Blanco and a film director; but after a tragedy occurred, he abandoned his past, became his pseudonym, and started a new career as a screenwriter.
We can wonder if a beautiful woman like this mystery blonde was part of Harry's downfall; we can also wonder if his permanent blindness formed because of her. "Broken Embraces" marks for a shift in the filmography of Pedro Almodóvar; after years of creating ballsy comedies or moody dramas, "Broken Embraces" seems like his first Hollywood film, both in style and in story.
It's unmistakably modern but there's also something about it that falls under that "The Postman Always Rings Twice" or "Vertigo" category; it's full of romantic obsessions and it fixates on Penélope Cruz with eye-catching allure. Maybe the film feels so old-fashioned because there seems to be a rapport between Almodóvar and Cruz that is reminiscent of Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard or Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock. But no matter. "Broken Embraces" is a bold but instantly enjoyable thriller.
The story jumps between the past and the present; when Harry is visited by a man named Ray X (Rubén Ochandiano), a man claiming to want to direct a film written by Harry, there is an air of familiarity in the atmosphere. Then it hits him: Ray X is actually the son of Ernesto Martel, a millionaire who recently died.
Flash back to 1994. We meet Lena (Cruz), an aspiring actress who works as Martel's secretary. A few too-close-for-comfort conversations and favors later, she becomes his mistress. Harry is beginning to cast his new film, "Women and Suitcases"; when he happens to meet Lena, he is instantly smitten and casts her. But Martel is obsessed with Lena in the same way Glenn Close was obsessed with Michael Douglas. So he has his son, 2008's Ray X, document every second of the shoot in order to assure himself that Lena isn't doing anything he doesn't approve of. But when Lena and Harry begin having an affair, it begins a deadly chain of events.
There are so many shifts and so many side-plots that "Broken Embraces" is like an entanglement of different emotions and styles; yet, it never seems cluttered. Almodóvar is never quite sure if he would rather have the film be a "women's picture"-style melodrama or a tribute to voyeurism and obsession. The camera lingers on Cruz as if she were a goddess - every move she makes is delicately framed - and the romantic interludes are hot and heavy, only a step above those steamy meetings between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in "North by Northwest."
But even with all of its Hollywood trademarks, "Broken Embraces" feels completely original. As it is photographed with Almodóvar's trademark visual style (this time around using a palette of bright reds and saturated yellows) and there are inserts of the film within a film, "Women and Suitcases" (which resembles Almodóvar's earlier "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"), it shows a director unafraid of his audience, even if it may be impossible for anyone not to have fun with the film.
The drama is wild; the romance is breathy; "Broken Embraces" is delicious.