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Monday, December 7, 2009

Penelope Cruz in Broken Embraces is broken and in braces but drop dead gorgeous

Penelope Cruz is phenomenal in Broken Embraces - the movie wanders every which way - as Pedro Amaldovar tends to do, but somehow through sheer will she sustains the entire film. It explores Amaldovar's usual obsession with violence, affairs, and inner torment, but is more a film about lost lovers. For most it is a film lovers film about loving film the way Pedro does. Secondly it is about unrequited love or passionate love that is somehow not entirely passionate. Penelope, however, cannot help being passionate and ends up carrying the scattered film through highs and lows -through 5 affairs and 5 film genres. Amaldovar is in a way making a retrospective of his work - an all in one if you like. Its all in there. He even makes Penelope into Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps he tries to do a bit too much and that causes the film to comes off a bit thin - but Penelope props up every scene with her stunning beauty and exuberant energy. She is so alive that even Amaldovars dark humor and drama have the lightness of a Spanish soap opera. The film is shot almost poetically as each image is a frame with in a frame. Each bcackdrop feels as if it were styled by a mid century modern designer who has had a hand in each frame composing the back drops with bold patterns and daring colors. Subtitles don't distract as the film is so remarkably picturesque - sublime ocean views, chic interiors, and of course, the lovely Penelope. - Ecomanta