Year of release: 1997
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Stars: Francesca Neri, Javier Bardem, Liberto Rabal, Angela Molina, Jose Sancho, Penelope Cruz, Pilar Bardem
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Synopsis:While the early 90s were a bit irregular in terms of quality, with many critics accusing Almodovar of just repeating himself, by the mid 90s the director experienced a new return to his more unique work, which started with "La Flor de mi Secreto" and particularly with "Carne Tremula/Live Flesh" that garnered him strong reviews. Adapting for the first time a novel, Almodovar tackled Ruth Rendell and came out with a darker thriller, populated with his taste for intersecting story lines and a mosaic of characters well defined in their pursuits.
The film follows Victor, a young man who crosses paths with Elena a young troubled woman in less than honest activities. After a confrontation with the police, Victor ends up being sent to jail, whereas Elena ends up marrying the police officer who captured Victor (and who was left a paraplegic due to it). Upon Victor's release, he sets out to restart his life, yet finds himself crossing paths with Elena and her husband, David.
"Carne Tremula" though adapted from a novel, is very much an Almodovar film. The center stage is occupied by Victor, but the dynamics come from all the women who populate the story. Elena who draws men to her and who learns how to connect with the man she loves and wants and Clara who walks away from a brutal marriage with a coward of a man. The intersecting narrative threads, as usual in Almodovar, weave a story that is very much a part of Madrid and Spain - another of the director's traits. The acting is as usual superb, particularly Javier Bardem who is fantastic as David, the resourceful police officer who has to learn to live a new life. A great film.