Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces) (2009) *
I must say at the outset that I am not a Pedro Almodóvar devotee. I've never felt the need to see any of his films more than once, but at the same time, I do usually venture out whenever there's a new one. So my view of his work is by no means jaundiced but it is certainly dispassionate.
And personally, I prefer his work now that he has settled comfortably into the role of auteurist elder statesman, the last - temporarily at least - in the line of flamboyant international showmen that stretches back through Fellini, Buñuel and similar stylists. It's as if he doesn't feel he has anything much to prove, and so has less need to grab us by the lapels; the work is more relaxed and considered. Whereas the films with which he made his name and reputation in the 1980s and 1990s look already to me like ossified period pieces.
But I am aware that many of his keener followers - more entitled than I to authority on the matter - feel the opposite.
So, with no real axe to grind either way, I found this typical: never less than enjoyable, never likely to find its way on to my video shelves. Pretty interesting, pretty engrossing, pretty pretty. Parts of it are striking, a lot of it is colourful, it's long, it moves at a uniform pace and it just sort of wanders by - like the circus leaving town.