Trailer Review: Director Pedro Almodovar has been on a role with a recent series of beautifully executed films including Volver, and All About My Mother, both of which starred Penelope Cruz. In his latest film, Broken Embraces, Almodovar once again joins forces with his Cruz muse to tell the noirish tale of an all consuming romance portrayed with an exhilarating blend of melodrama, mystery, and dark humor. The director with a Barf from Spaceballs hairdo and the slender, all eye-liner, Spanish beauty definitely make for a bit of an odd ball couple. Yet, this seemingly anomalous mentor-muse pairing has clearly proven to be a wonderful, symbiotic relationship, one which is likely to continue to scintillate movie-goers with each collaborative effort.
The trailer for Broken Embraces opens with a quick glimpse of Penelope Cruz’s smiling face as she rushes to passionately embrace her lover. Cut to a shot of a woman’s fiery red heels pacing down a hallway. The only sounds are the swoony smacks of kisses and the methodic clomp of footsteps on a hard wood floor. Next shot, a man tensely asks, “Where are you going?” The vivacious woman in red replies, “I’m leaving you.” Bam. The title, Broken Embraces, hits the screen. What an opening!
From there, the trailer cuts to a close-up of an older woman who pronounces some vastly vague but obviously heavily loaded dialogue. Cue Alberto Iglesias’ hauntingly hypnotic score. There is little dialogue from this point on, just a series of visually stunning images interspersed with flashes of complimentary quotes from film critics. The trailer’s adept arrangement of images first creates an air of mystery and intrigue, and then crescendos to implicate the complex web of secrets, lies, and obsession that exists among the characters. The final images, which play like a sexy kaleidoscope, illustrate a series of shots of the characters in various forms of embrace – some tender, some passionate, and some heartbreaking.
To give a little bit of background information, Broken Embraces is the story of Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar), a blind writer and former film director who lost his sight in a horrible car crash fourteen years ago and now goes by the pseudonym Harry Caine. Harry is looked after by Judit, his former production assistant, and seems to be generally satisfied with his current life. It is soon revealed, however, that his present contentment is merely a construction of willed denial. Flashback to fourteen years ago, Lena (Penelope Cruz), who is the mistress of a wealthy business man named Ernesto (Jose Luis Gomez), is cast in Mateo’s latest film. Mateo quickly falls for Lena and soon the three are caught up in a perilous love triangle. Like a true film noir, Broken Embraces is set in the present, but much of the story is rooted in the past.
Since the trailer does little in the way of revealing plot details, it relies solely on mood setting tactics to capture the viewer’s attention, and it does an excellent job at that. The trailer’s use of music and imagery expertly captures the essence of the film, a paradoxical fusion of devastation and elation, and the viewer’s whistle is most definitely whet for a tale of desperation, deceit, and imminent disaster.
Check out the trailer for Broken Embraces below. What do you think?