Volver (2006)

Written & Directed by Pedro Almodovar

Almodovar has always been one of those names of cinema that I felt so familiar with, yet had no real grasp of what kind of a filmmaker he was and why he was held so highly by so many people. Then I was dictated the little film called Bad Education, which left me somewhat cold both on the story and the director. But it seems also that that film has grown better and better in my mind ever since I had seen it. Perhaps it is better described as the type of film that is masterly crafted, yet not my cup of tea in terms of content, as the story was somewhat strange and twisted if I recall correctly. So that leads me to discovering my second Pedro Almodovar film, Volver, which features the ever so beautiful Penelope Cruz as well as an equally strange and twisted plot.

One thing I have noticed between the two films I have seen and even the trailers for his other films, is that a Pedro Almodovar film is colorful and great to look at. His sets, costumes, etc. all seem to be vibrant and perhaps that has some to do with Spain (I am not that cultured to know if perhaps I am way off base with that comment) but the art direction and cinematography in both films are great. Another parallel I noticed is that they feature fairly well known actors (Garcia Bernal and Cruz) giving pretty great performances. Look and performances are already two things that have me sold on the genius of our man Pedro. So how about this movie specifically? Well the story took a while to lead me anywhere. Although it is intriguing, and also confusing, basically from the first frame, I was unsure where it was heading. But like any good film, all things in the end are, not necessarily resolved, but packaged for consumption (and I mean that in a good way) for the viewer to go home with their mind intact. That last sentence was a jumble, so let me summarize thusly, the last act is fantastic.

Overall I am unsure whether Almodovar will become a favorite of mine based on these films. I have found so far that he is a great filmmaker, I am just unsure if he makes films that I will love. His style is awesome, but his writing is foreign to me in more ways than simply language. He presents strange, unique, even beautiful, yet, I don’t want to say depressing, but perhaps bleak stories that, while I can immensely appreciate, I cannot also relate and therefore thoroughly enjoy. Time will tell as there are still a few Almodovar greats that I have yet to see, and I will set foot inside the worlds of All About My Mother and Talk to Her further down the line in this marathon.

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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