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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Almodovar Masterpiece
"Live Flesh" starts with Victor Plaza being born on a bus in Franco's Spain in 1970 and ends, twenty six years later, with... well, I wont spoil the ending; but typically with Almodovar, it is fitting and poetic. In between, we follow Victor on his journey into manhood, as he learns the hard way about disillusion, betrayal, love, life, death, and tragedy.
As a young...
Published on 19 July 2004 by Penguin Egg

versus
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
i did not see that it was in spainish
Published 7 months ago by miss sarah ash


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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Almodovar Masterpiece, 19 July 2004
By 
Penguin Egg (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
"Live Flesh" starts with Victor Plaza being born on a bus in Franco's Spain in 1970 and ends, twenty six years later, with... well, I wont spoil the ending; but typically with Almodovar, it is fitting and poetic. In between, we follow Victor on his journey into manhood, as he learns the hard way about disillusion, betrayal, love, life, death, and tragedy.
As a young man, Victor believes that a one-off sexual encounter with a beautiful Italian junkie is something more than it is, and pesters her to such an extent that she draws a gun on him in order to get him to leave. A struggle ensues. The gun accidentally goes off, and although noone is hurt, it brings the unwelcome attention of two policemen. Another struggle ensues. Another shot is fired. One of the policemen is paralysed from the waist down. From then on, all four of their lives become tragically entwined; with deception and misunderstanding leading towards bitterness and envy. Inevitably, the lies are stripped away, unwanted truths are revealed, and all the various dilemmas are resolved amidst a scene of emotional and actual carnage.
This must sound like heady stuff, almost melodramatic? It is. This is Almodovar, after all. There is the usual complex plotting that reveals the strains that pull apart and bring together relationships while the emotional lives of the characters are laid bare. There is the relentless drive to resolve the emotional dilemmas while avoiding sentimentality. In short, there are all the usual touches that one expects from Almodovar, including the wonderful acting from the cast. Wonderful! A film that will draw you back again and again and again.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almodovar brings us the birth of self and nation, 24 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Live Flesh [VHS] [1998] (VHS Tape)
This film is amongst Almodovar's finest. He turns his skills to where they truly excel, relationships.
The relationships are those of family, birth and adoptive, friends, lovers, spouses, the able bodied and the disabled, the law breaker and the enforcer. The characters grow with their newly liberated madrid.
Almodovar explores how one arrives at identity, and what can challenge it. His characters are complex, his dialogue well paced. He leads the viewer from compassion to frustration to sadness and back again through many and varied routes. His filming is evocative of madrid in the 1950s and today, always showing a great affection for his homeland.
Victor is born as Madrid regains democratic rule. A chance encounter with Elena shapes his life and that of David, both as individuals and as eachother's motivation for the choices they make. They save eachother, use each other, have complex loyalties and one's betryal is the other's honesty. The real strength of this film is that they live as people - like those people we have all shared bottles of wine, and "what to do next conversations" with. Chickflick? Not at all, Almodovar is fond of all his characters and all of their flaws, which makes this very rewarding viewing.
If none of this convinces you that you must see this film and see it again and tell all your friends to see it, then perhaps this will persuade you - it has the best scene on men watching sport together of any film i have ever seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining, 24 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
I picked this up at a car boot sale some years ago, with a guilty feeling I should check out more of Almodovar's work. After viewing it, I still want to check out more of his work. I have seen "Tie Me Up! Time Me Down!" quite a few years ago, but can't really remember it. This doesn't seem one of his best reviewed works, and yet I found plenty to enjoy, so I hope for more treats to come. He has an arresting visual style, the story was fun, if massively contrived and requiring a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, and the performances were largely superb.

Possibly the weakest of the quintet is the lead, Victor (played by Liberto Rabal). He's good looking, and plays it well enough - certainly not bad to watch - but I couldn't help feeling he wasn't getting everything out of the character. It certainly wasn't as nuanced as the characters David, played by Javier Bardem (with the intensity of a young Oliver Reed), Elena, played by the gorgeous Francesca Neri, and especially the aging Clara, played wonderfully by Angela Molina. Even Sancho (played by Jose, err, Sancho), the smallest role of the five, offered more in the acting chops than Rabal, who the film revolved around, and had the vast majority of the screen time. True, innocence is not as fun to play as aging cynicism or brooding failure, but I couldn't help feeling some extra charisma might have been beneficial. But that is nitpicking - overall, the acting is plenty good enough to help the viewer glide over the waves of disbelief.

After seeing Victor born on a bus in the middle of the night, the son of a prostitute, we rejoin him twenty years later, as a pizza delivery boy in love with a heroin addict he had a tryst with the week before. She was so high she can hardly remember it, and demands he leave her alone. After an altercation, some cops arrive on the scene. One, Sancho, is drinking far too much to cope with the suspected infidelity of his wife, Clara. Worse, it is his police partner, Bardem's David, he suspects of being the other party. In the ensuing standoff, a gun is fired, David is paralysed, and Victor is imprisoned for the crime. In prison, he watches on television as David, now star of Spain's Paralympics basketball team, celebrates another win with Elena, now his wife. When he is released, five years later, he swears revenge on them both. The paths of all five characters cross and recross, with much drama, a little comedy, and repercussions for all.

With some beautiful locations, evocative dialogue, and terrific performances, there is much to enjoy here, although the plot requires you to want to go along with it. I did, however, find it pretty depressing in its conclusions. Almodovar seems to believe sex more powerful than love, and that betrayal and selfishness are the currency of the world. He may well be right, but it can leave you feeling fairly bleak at the prospect. Although, ultimately, that could be argued to be countered by the film's curiously upbeat and neat resolution, certainly not the norm in this sort of film, I'm still not sure it qualifies as a happy ending.

This is no classic, but it's certainly an interesting curio, and a worthy watch if you want a twisting plot filmed nicely, held up with some acting of a very high quality. I know I'm very late to the Almodovar party, but I won't be leaving early.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker, more serious, more 'grown-up' Almodovar, 26 July 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
A maturing Almodovar in a less absurd - if still melodramatic - mode than his early films. This time the tone is more film noir/mystery/character study. Unlike most of the early work, this is generally `serious', with just touches of his humor. Visually very striking and dark. Wonderful performances, including an early one by Javier Bardem.

I appreciate how all the characters are grey, no one is `good' or bad'. Basically it's a love triangle with multiple angles, and a cop drama about violence and love. What it's missing (for me at least) , and keeps it a very good film, not a great one, is deeper levels of emotion. It's always interesting, but I didn't ultimately find it affecting. Also a couple of key plot contrivances are clunky - which the anarchic young Almodovar could get away with, since everything was absurd anyway. But when you're being more `real', forced twists feel more... well, forced. Still a highly enjoyable film well worth seeing, and another important step in the growth of a major filmmaker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live Flesh - gripping story combined with great camera and acting, 27 Oct. 2009
By 
Miss E. Rys (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Anyone who wants to watch a movie that keeps one's focus throughought will be delighted viewing this film. The storyline is gripping, keeps you guessing but its not too far fetched and is very realistic and down to earth.
The picture and camera work is exquisite, it starts with the first scene on the bus and follows through with the picture seen on the cover of the DVD, which doesnt do the real scene justice at all.
I watched intently the whole movie without as much as shifting on my sofa and that means this film is not for fans of the average Hollywood blockbuster watching of which causes me to fall asleep after 10 minutes...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cutting the cord., 27 Jun. 2008
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Victor is born on a late night bus, and together with his free bus pass for life we follow him after a life changing event which results in him being sentenced to jail over a shooting.

The shooting takes place when Victor takes a shine to drug addict Helena. After being spurned the ensuing argument attracts the police. A police officer is shot and paralysed from the waist down. Here four lives come together, and six years later, when Victor is released from prison - these four lives, and the life of Clara, a police officer's wife will intersect.

Giving details of the plot would confuse and ruin the effect of the film. But Almodóvar ensures that the characters aren't bland - each has a history and all are well developed. At first this looks like a simple psychological thriller concerning an angry young man released from prison to vent his rage on those he felt landed him there. But the film shifts and pretty soon all the characters are caught up in a web of events, each with an understandable human reason - and all leading to the films conclusion. although some of the actions of the characters are ethically wrong, no one character is inherently bad - they are all essentially victims of their own emotions.

I like how David, the shot Police officer isn't portrayed as pathetically crippled. Instead he is leading an active life and is a successful basketball player. In fact - in many ways he has the most enviable lifestyle.

A deep and often tense film - but there's still room for a bit of humour. Another reviewer has pointed out "the best scene on men watching sport together" and it's little moments like that which make sure the film captures the full range of humanity.

Despite the preconceptions I had, there isn't much sex in the film - and of the sex there is, non is gratuitous. In fact, one scene is quite beautiful and incredibly tender, a perfect example of Almodóvar making a beautiful scene of something wrong and emotionally destructive.

In a nutshell: What seems like a formulaic 'seen-it-all-before' movie becomes a deep insightful look at five lives which converge in a tangle of betrayal which re-write our understanding of the event which brought them together. Perfectly acted and gritty enough to buy into every character.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell made watchable?, 17 Feb. 2002
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This review is from: Live Flesh [VHS] [1998] (VHS Tape)
I normally despise the Ruth Rendell dramatisations that are on ITV so often. In fact the only reason I bought this film was to see the lovely Penelope Cruz even though she is only in it for the first few scenes.
Almodovar creates the juxtapostiton between beautifully filmed arthouse cinema and a typically over the top Rendell story. This makes for strange viewing as it is both compulsive viewing and over the top in equal measure. This is one of the most sexually charged pieces of cinema I have ever seen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity., 2 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
A fascinating painting of humanity of latin temperament at times tragic at times funny, well acted and photographed showing us that being just human with all its weaknesses is not a crime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Fantastic value. Super-quick arrival. Thanks.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of the old wildness, 4 Oct. 2003
By 
Michael Bo (Frederiksberg Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
I greatly prefer early Almodóvar to more recents films by the Spanish filmmaker, as I find that he has evolved into yet another entirely palatable, slightly bland, faux-arty, European director. 'Live Flesh' has some of the old wildness, though, and some of the original idiosyncracies that made him so fun to watch. Plus, the sex is nice.
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Live Flesh [DVD] [1998]
Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] by Pedro Almodóvar (DVD - 2004)
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