Continuing his recent run of excellent films, Almodóvar.
presents a tale of incest, murder and phantom mother figures, told in a heightened, melodramatic soapy style.
All you really need to know about this film is that it’s Penelope Cruz’s gig. She holds the screen from beginning to end. Playing poor trash with dignity, and radiating strength, sassiness and strategic forethought that would put Cheney and Rumsfeld to shame. With more than able support from Carmen Maura and Lola Duenas, this is an ensemble piece that examines the tragic, and how it can either destroy us or make us stronger.
Almodóvar reigns in some of the visual excesses of his last few films to tell a story that is completely feminine-centred; relegating men to the sidelines as shadowy rapists or useless lumps of instinct. This is perhaps its most radical element, and one which will have film theorists debating whether Volver is a feminist film or not for many years to come.
The characters are real; they have flaws and unreasonable reactions. However, thanks to the great writing and subtle directing, you take the journey with them and wish them safe passage.