Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” is a huge disappointment, more clever and cute than deliriously engaging.
Its twists and turns are annoying and pretentious; it’s a movie that churns on our emotions, scraping them with Almodovar clichés. It’s not a terrible film, but with its contrivances, it’s one we’ve seen before. If it is polished, it is also glib. Welcome to a continental soap opera imitating high art.
Here, the emperor has no clothes in a film lacking humor and any sustained drama. It amounts to a paper-thin story, about a blind former director (Lluis Homar) who, in flashback fashion, tells an aide how he lost his sight and his love (Penelope Cruz).
DIRECTED BY: Pedro Almodovar
STARRING: Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, Blanca Portillo, Jose Luis Gomez, Ruben Ochandiano and Tamar Novas.
RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes (in Spanish with English subtitles)
The problem is that we don’t really care about the characters or narrative. The entire project is clumsy, disjointed, and despite self-congratulatory flickers of wit, a turgid melodrama in search of a compelling story.
Cruz delivers a role with wit and elegance, but there’s a vacuum sapping the energy she tries to offer. So much for a film that tries too hard to be original.
Reach Dan DiNicola at [email protected]