Sunday, 7 February 2010

Two duffers

Our skill at picking DVDs to watch is clearly much lower than that for picking cinema trips ...

Two Lovers is a moody shambles of a film. Basically, a guy (whose unexplained suicide attempt pretentiously starts the film) meets two girls: one nice, brunette, stable and Jewish; one exciting, blonde, crazy and non-Jewish. Pointless, meandering, overwrought heartache ensues. The end. The only surprise for me was that he, essentially, gets to have his cake and eat it. Or is he making a compromised decision at the end of the film that he'll regret for the rest of his life? I couldn't care less.

Broken Embraces, while considerably better and a lot less disappointing, was still something of a let-down. Almodóvar is usually very reliable, so this was something of a surprise. Split between two time levels, it tells the story of a film director and his ill-fated encounter with a beautiful actress who he steals from her jealous sugar daddy. All of the usual elements from his films are present, but they just didn't seem in place for once. The plot, for instance, seems structured strangely, so that the "mystery" to be solved actually only appears late in the film rather than being its backbone. It's not helped by the (overplayed) film-within-the-film being awful - I wasn't sure whether it was meant to be, but the reaction of the characters suggests otherwise. Anyway, still quite an alluring and attractive-to-watch film, but not up to Almodóvar's usual standards, though only really on plot grounds.


marc aurel said...

I think you are critical of the story values in Two Lovers, whereas the virtue and value of the film is in five character studies. If you have come across such people in your life, the acting and writing present a true picture of more than usually real fictional characters. This is why I liked the film much more than you did. Not a great film, but a good one, I thought.

Plumbago said...

I probably am being a bit hard on the film, but I just thought it was all a bit too tired and clichéd, and that its characters were far too stereotypical. The Goy-vs.-Jew dilemma faced by the Jewish lead character seems very old to me these days.

I also thought the scene-setting opening of a suicide attempt, while dramatic, was just a lazy way of setting up the male lead as your standard tortured artist. Especially since the film never really returned to this, or even attempted to explain it.

And I was rather annoyed that it finished up the way that it did. Even if we are meant to intuit that the male lead is making a big mistake (which is by no means certain), the film doesn't lead up to this well. Bar the lead not getting his first-choice girl (who was flaky anyway), I felt he really was getting his cake and eating it. Not really a "Hollywood Ending", but not so far off either.

Oh, and it was shot too dark as well! ;-)

Anyway, sorry to have to disagree. But thanks for dropping by!