Greetings again from the darkness. I will readily admit to being a huge Pedro Almodovar fan. His films regularly place on my “Best Of” list every two years. I so admire his creativity, tough women characters, visual acumen and multi-dimensional stories. With Almodovar, we can bank on some type of dalliance with death, a brush with sexual deviance, non-linear time lines, plots that twist and turn incessantly, a color palette to make Frida Kahlo envious and psychological darkness that forces us to look inward. All of these elements are present here … yet somehow it doesn’t quite click.
Antonio Banderas plays Dr. Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon revered for his work in face transplants. What the medical profession doesn’t know is that Dr. Ledgard takes the mad scientist label to whole new dimension. And he does it with the coolness reserved for the other side of the pillow. I will not go into details of the story other than to say Banderas’ character would make Dr. Frankenstein turn away in disgust.
Dr. Ledgard lives in a beautiful mansion with his protective housekeeper played by Almodovar veteran Marissa Paredes. He also has a live-in patient named Vera, played wonderfully by Elena Anaya. You will recognize Ms. Anaya if you took my advice and tracked down Mesrine parts 1 and 2. Support work is also provided by Jim Cornet as Vicente. I wish I could tell you more of the characters, but can’t without giving away too much.
Dr. Legard and Vera are two of the most fascinating characters ever written by Almodovar, and the film is a twisted road to discomfort all wrapped up in a silky smooth picture frame. From a filmmaking perspective, I couldn’t rate it much higher. From an entertainment perspective, it would be near the bottom of the most interesting or desirable Almodovar films. Am I disappointed? Sure, a little. But not enough to override my excitement for the next film by Almodovar!
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: like me, you must see every Almodovar film OR you want to see Antonio Banderas in his most intense role in quite some time.
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you have yet to enter the film realm of Almodovar … this is not the best for an introduction
watch the trailer: