‘Pain And Glory’ Review

There’s always a fear in the back of your head when you hear a movie is about a filmmaker and fears will grow when it has reflections on the filmmaker making the said film. Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain And Glory (Dolor y Gloria in Spanish) therefore had a big obstacle to get over so it wouldn’t feel like a sappy, self-important tale of a relatively successful and lucky man. The first quarter wasn’t easing my mind with its focus on the work itself but after that, it does start to evolve. This is a piece that gets better and better as it goes on with an incredibly satisfying end to wrap it all up.

We might do an anomaly here and begin by talking about the ending. Even before the last fifteen-ish minutes the movie had won me over to the positive side but the way the last shots both mirror the beginning and lead us viewers to a new part of the character’s, Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas), life is something remarkable. You’d be happy if a film sticks its landing but when it is the high point, you’re ever so grateful. Banderas delivers his performance in every way possible, he never feels to be doing an imitation but instead the energy invites you into Salvador’s home.

That home, oh yes. It’s just one of the parts of the film that has something eye-catching because the whole art side is beautiful and essential for the story that is unraveling. Innocent shades of white in the childhood, passionate red of cinema and love as well as cold blue of addiction and physical pain are presented gorgeously in everything that ends up in the frames. Pain And Glory is also rare in the sense that flashbacks are used in fairly inventive way to tell a story, often movies do it to over-expose but here it is to add contrast. Something that contrasts the greatness of the film is the supporting cast which has some weird line-reading moments and apparent lack of ”it” next to Banderas.

Smileys: Ending, art direction, Antonio Banderas, editing

Frowneys: Casting

Was ready for painful but ended up getting some glorious sunshine.

4.0/5

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