Plot: What’s it about?
Victor (Liberto Rabal) was just a pizza delivery runner, but he had plans for much larger events, including his love life of course. As soon as he met Elena (Francesca Neri) he knew he wanted her, but she has a lot of issues, which makes it harder than Victor expected. The two had met a few days earlier and now find themselves in an argument, as Elena is now sober and wants nothing to do with him. The voice levels were louder than they thought, as soon two police officers arrive on the scene, which causes a chain of events that changes all of their lives forever. Soon, Victor finds himself in a world of trouble when a gun goes off and he is locked up for six years. While in prison he works on his mind and body, but looks forward to the time when he can exact revenge on the man who placed him here. After he is released from the joint, Victor returns to find Elena, who is more stunning than ever and has cleaned herself up, very impressive indeed. But the revenge plan is given a swerve when Victor discovers she has married David (Javier Bardem), the police officer who sent him to prison in the first place.
As with most of Pedro Almodovar’s films, Live Flesh is a wild ride, but sometimes things can get a little hard to believe. But the gaps in storyline aren’t serious and if you’re a fan of Almodovar (or at least seen a few of his flicks), then there’s nothing here you’re not used to. In any event, the good elements far outnumber the bad ones, with almost all the other aspects of Live Flesh in fine form. I love the atmosphere and mood found in this picture, as it really pulls you into the movie and adds a lot to the impact of the whole scheme. Even when the mood is switched to extremes, the tone remains smooth and the movie never seems to falter, very impressive indeed. Also worth a mention are the performances here, as the entire cast seems to be in top form and that means the writing comes across very well also. Javier Bardem, Francesca Neri, Penelope Cruz, Liberto Rabal, and others all perform well, although I wouldn’t go as far as to call their performances great. The cast is more than solid in their roles, but never seem to elevate to the next level with their performances. All in all, Live Flesh is a good flick and with a low price point, this disc is more than worth a look.
Although he uses some offbeat and risky approaches, Pedro Almodovar has found a lot of success in the business, both with critics and audiences. This is due to his stylish and provocative techniques, which are placed with good storylines and characters, forming a total picture. A lot of directors explore this kind of material, but few do so as well as Almodovar, who never seems pretentious in the least. His visuals are lush and the topics are not always mainstream, but works as an artist and an entertainer, which is impressive indeed in my book. To please the critics and normal viewers is no simple task, but he seems to succeed time and again with his films. Other films directed by Almodovar include All About My Mother, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, High Heels, Law of Desire, and Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown. The cast of Live Flesh includes Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls, Dance With The Devil), Liberto Rabal (Women of a Certain Distinction, Open Sea), Francesca Neri (Hannibal, My Generation), Angela Molina (1491: Conquest of Paradise), and Penelope Cruz (Woman On Top, Blow).
Video: How does it look?
Live Flesh is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This presentation is more than solid, but some flaws with the source material cause me to lower the score a shade. I saw more grain than I had expected, while frequent, but small wear signs surface on the print used. These errors don’t amount to much, but I did want to mention them here, as I feel they are more than evident, even if you don’t look for them. You can also see edge enhancement in several instances, but again, not enough to lose your temper by any means. The colors seem in order, flesh tones are acceptable, and the contrast levels are tight. This might not be as good as I’d like, but this is still a more than watchable visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
This won’t be the most explosive track you’ve heard, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option allows for a more than proper audio experience. The main surround use is found within the musical score, which comes across in immersive and memorable form, very cool indeed. This mix offer some level of ambiance and atmosphere, but since this material doesn’t need over the top audio, expect a more refined audio presence. A more than adequate on in all respects however, so don’t think this is a let down, not by any means. The audio is presented in the original Spanish language, while subtitles have been provided in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.