Live Flesh

This 1997 movie starts with a VERY young Penélope Cruz in labor. She is a working prostitute and this is just one of the hazards of her job. I had first heard of "Carne trémula" (English captions) when it was recommended to a student who was studying Spanish. He was very impressed and passed the tip along to me. I not only liked the movie, I bought the DVD right away!

Acclaimed Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar (Oscar for "Hable con ella" ["Talk to Her"]) plus over 100 other international wins, has crafted an involving, unpredictable, R-rated story of crime, passion, betrayal and redemption.

His cast:
  • Penélope Cruz ("Volver") only appears in the opening scene, but her baby is born on a city bus, so she and the baby have lifetime bus passes. The pass and that baby soon show up in the movie.
  • Liberto Rabal ("Arrayan") Victor is that baby, now grown to a poverty-stricken young adulthood, fresh from his first sexual encounter, using his bus pass to try and find that adventurous young woman.
  • Francesca Neri ("Hannibal") is Elena, that gorgeous but fickle young woman. Wealthy, self-indulgent (drugs), and wary of poverty-stricken young men (other than briefly); she calls the cops when Victor shows up at her door.
  • Javier Bardem ("Skyfall") is David, one of the two cops who respond to Elena's call. This will be a life-changing moment in David's life!
  • José Sancho ("Talk to Her") is Sancho, the other cop. He's a bit distracted because he's having trouble at home.
  • Ángela Molina (Lots of Spanish TV) Clara is that trouble. She hates Sancho's heavy drinking and wants a divorce. His reaction is brutal.
As you will see, Victor is soon in jail. Instead of allowing himself to become a hardened thug, he launches a self-help regimen which includes working out, studying the Bible and doing lots of additional reading. Now he has a plan... Watch him put it into action as soon as he has served his sentence.

This is another time you will be impressed with Javier Bardem. He is so convincing in later scenes, you will go back and check on him in earlier ones.

I found myself switching loyalties as the story progressed. I discovered that I had not one, but two people to root for. And that's a good thing! I had to replace my DVD because someone didn't return the first one. Aarghhh!
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No trailer on IMDb
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