Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Roar Power
Jurassic World unleashed on iTunes
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Liberto Rabal
Francesca Neri
Javier Bardem.
Pedro Almodovar.
Ray Loriga
Pedro Almodovar
Jorge Guerricaechevarria.
Running Time
97 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Beasts Of No Nation
4 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Live Flesh
Almodovar stumbles with this poor effort based on a Ruth Rendell novel.

submit to reddit

Based on a Ruth Rendell novel we follow the haphazrd life of Victor.

Everyone at some time has pondered on the extraordinary consequences of simple coincidences, and in his latest, Almodovar would have us believe that everything is down to chance. But in Live Flesh, coincidences are contrivances, people only seem to be unlucky but are in fact shaping their own destinies.

Based on, of all things, a Ruth Rendell novel, this follows the life of Victor (Rabal), born - with what will become typically appalling timing - on a bus in the deserted streets of Madrid during the Franco regime. When at 20 he visits the room of Elena (Neri), with whom he's had a one-night stand, she pulls a gun on him, two policemen get involved, and an avoidable tragedy occurs. Years later, the lives of these four enmesh again, partly through chance, partly due to destructive manipulation.

However, there's never more than one dimension of the characters apparent and thus none are likeable: Elena is too cold; Victor is just dull; and one of the cops, David (Bardem), has betrayed his partner, Sanchez (Jose Sancho). The latter, a drunken wife-beater, and his pitiful wife Clara (Angela Molina) are the only characters to show any depth. Though weak, both struggle with their own emotional confusion, desperate to create something positive out of their unhappiness.

Cleverly structured, the director creates images that flow with textbook fluidity as he explores an intriguing concept. But the psychological study that is the author's trademark is reduced to superficial and negative motivation - lust, guilt, revenge, escape.

While despair underlies Almodovar's film, it does end on an optimistic note as the director attempts to lighten up with some misplaced jokes. These, though, are never any more than a brief respite from the irritating mess in which the characters embroil themselves.

Reviewed by Giala Murray

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Empire's Best Horror Films For Halloween
An unlucky thirteen triple-bills

Emily Blunt Talks Sicario
On the five-star thriller, puke acting and taking Tom Cruise to The Box

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)