Year of release: 1986
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Stars: Assumpta Serna, Nacho Martinez, Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Eva Cobo, Julieta Serrano, Chus Lampreave, Eusebio Poncela, Veronica Forque
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Synopsis:By the time Pedro Almodovar did "Matador" his name was already getting to be well known, since his previous films, "Entre Tinieblas" (Dark Habits) and "Que He Echo Yo Para Merecer Esto?" (What Have I Done To Deserve This), were well received by most critics. "Matador" focuses on two main characters, Maria and Diego, both unaware of each other at the beginning of the story, but who by chance encounter realize, they are both very similar in their unique natures. Maria is a lawyer and Diego a retired bull fighter who now teaches young aspiring bullfighters - both experience a sexual peak in the deaths of their partners when having intercourse. Maria becomes aware of Diego's existence, when she's brought to defend a young troubled man who is Diego's student. This student, Angel, has psychic capabilities and soon realizes there's more to those two damaged individuals than what is apparent. Those two predators engage in a mating game, trying to realize who will survive each other.
Pedro Almodovar in "Matador" started to perfect and refine his universe (and in a way, trademark): the surreal situations and his colorful (larger than life also) characters. Not only with Antonio Banderas' Angel character, but also with the supporting characters such as Carmen Maura's psychiatrist Julia (she who was a staple of his films throughout all of the 80s until their public fallout in 1988), Almodovar illustrated an irreverence and taste for transgression that came from his film references but also from the political context of Spain itself (the dictatorship and the need for self expression). The film is very rooted in Spanish traditions, namely the bullfighting and the whole sexual aura associated with it.
"Matador" isn't so much a thriller, but more a love story of two people who are, in the end, deeply damaged and looking for a connection. A great film.