Reviews - Pain and Glory
Pain and Glory
Reviewed By Stephen Pye
The Almodóvar figure (the film is essentially a celluloid autobiography), Salvador Mallo is played by Antonio Banderas, a superb performance for which he won best actor at Cannes. Banderas first found fame in Almodóvar's films in the eighties but then moved to Hollywood to become an action star. They became estranged and did not work together for 21 years until the 2011 thriller “The skin I live in”.
Two years ago Banderas suffered a major heart attack and in this film has a graver, more inward and vulnerable presence than he has shown before, unexpectedly touching, as he portrays his own director, literally wearing Almodóvar's clothes and living in his apartment. Almodóvar has said he thinks it is Banderas's best ever performance, his rebirth as an actor. It is an act of reconciliation, one among many in the film.
The film also features another beautifully measured performance by the inimitable Penelope Cruz as the director's young mother. There are many devices used throughout the film, not least in the amazing denouement, so typical of Almodóvar. But it is his desire that wins through in the end. His desire to communicate, in a film, literally drenched in colour, something of the wonder of film making itself, as seen through the prism of his own life and his lifelong artistic endeavour.
The film was enthusiastically well received by the large audience of 166 people.
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