Saturday, 17 August 2019

Review: Pain And Glory / Dolor Y Gloria

Pain And Glory / Dolor Y Gloria
Cert: 15 / 113 mins / Dir. Pedro Almodóvar / Trailer

You join me at something of a disadvantage, as I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed an advance screening of Pedro Almodóvar's latest semi-autobiographical film, Pain And Glory, and yet I find myself struggling to articulate why, exactly.

It's a perfectly paced two-hour introspection, entirely in Spanish with subtitles that don't detract from the inflection or meaning of the script. The film follows director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), wincing through middle age as his body crumbles through illness and self-inflicted substance abuse, trying to make amends with the star of one of his films from 30 years ago (Alberto, played by Asier Etxeandia) as he comes to terms with the film's lasting appeal. Interwoven throughout is a thread from Salvador's childhood in rural spain, as his young self is played by Asier Flores and his mother Jacinta by Penélope Cruz (and by Julieta Serrano in the 'present day' narrative).

Ultimately it's a confessional study of regret, fulfilment, trust and seeing the same world with new eyes. Banderas is on awards-worthy form in the lead role, with a far more intricately powerful performance than he's asked to give in his English-language work. And okay, it may have the most hassle-free 'coming off the skag' sequence since A Street Cat Named Bob, but everything else here is delicate to the point of devastating. That final scene is nothing short of beautiful.

Pain And Glory is very good and you should go and see it.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
In the best possible way, I'm not sure.
Maybe watch Almodóvar's earlier film Julieta and go from there

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It could well be.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Possible, but unlikely.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Penélope Cruz is in this, and she was in that Murder On The Orient Express alongside Daisy 'Rey' Ridley.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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