Almodovar apparently had a script scrawled on a couple of cocktail napkins, and tried to stretch that into an entire movie.
This film has some sort of cultural significance for Spanish people, which is real nice if you're Spanish, but if you're American it makes no damn sense at all. Undoubtedly, somebody at Miramax thought they were doing a good deed by expanding my sense of diversity and opening me up to the possibility of appreciating different cultures. Unfortunately, I now simply think of Spanish people as confusing.
Director Pedro Almodovar (the name sounds like a frozen dessert) starts this film with a birth in a bus in 1970, when Spain was still a dictatorship and life sucked. The woman having the baby is poor and a prostitute and one presumes that the government likes to keep such things hidden. She has the baby, who grows up to be Victor (Liberto Ribal).
Cut to twenty years later and Victor is getting into trouble, accidentally shooting one cop, David (Javier Barden), while wrestling with another, Sancho (Pepe Sancho), while also visiting his first lay, Elena (Francesca Neri). Five years later, he gets out of prison with revenge on his mind.
I'm already to the fourth paragraph of this review and the story of the film has yet to even emerge. There's a reason for this: There is no story. Almodovar apparently had a script scrawled on a couple of cocktail napkins, and tried to stretch that into an entire movie. Ostensibly, "Live Flesh" contains some lesson for Spanish people about bringing stuff out into the open, which is something I could have cared less about because -- attention American distributors! -- I'm not Spanish. This film didn't need subtitles -- it needed a cultural historian.
To spread the word about this Live Flesh review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.