Live Flesh (Carne trémula) (1998)
Critic Consensus: Live Flesh surveys the fallout from an act of violence with a mature melodrama that sees Pedro Almodóvar working in surprisingly restrained form.
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Critic Reviews for Live Flesh (Carne trémula)
A single ricochet gunshot propels the plot and dramatically alters the lives of the quintet. The result is a vengeful, five-way battle of wits.
The overall purpose of Live Flesh, the latest and reputedly most 'mature' work from Spanish bad-boy director Pedro Almodovar, remains engigmatic.
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.
Like the gorgeous cinematography (which is used to good effect to eroticize a sex scene), this is all part of Almodovar's stylistic package. Never has it been more impressive than here, where everything (not just the flesh) is vibrant with life.
I can only conclude that the people who think Flower and Live Flesh represent the new, mature Almodóvar think that his earlier pictures were immature.
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.
Life, love, desire...and everything in between.
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.
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