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Thursday, September 17, 2009

VOLVER (2006)

After his breakthru with WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN/’88, Pedro Almodóvar lost his stride by overindulging the very character, stylistic & narrative eccentricities that had ‘made’ his rep. So, it’s a relief to see him pull back from the heavy metaphysics of his stellar recent work with this relatively ‘straight’ story that could easily be titled ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER II. And how nice that Carmen Maura, his early muse, is back after twenty years to pull it off so movingly. Penelope Cruz leads a great cast in a twisty murder/revenge/redemption tale that any MILDRED PIERCE/’46 fan should respond to. Female empowerment, second chances, patricide, second sight; all the expected Almodóvar themes wrapped in his highly colored visual scheme and immaculate craftsmanship. The editing is quite exceptional. And from the opening shot of women tending their cemetery plots, you feel the confident hands of a master filmmaker with the wisdom & maturity to know when to trim his sail.

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