Pedro Almodóvar takes Ruth Rendell’s acclaimed crime novel and transforms it into a heightened, erotically charged thriller driven by guilt, jealousy and the treacherous nature of unbridled desire.
A tragic accident sees the fates of five characters intertwines. There’s Victor (Liberto Rabal), the son of a prostitute (Penélope Cruz’s first appearance in an Almodóvar film) who is born on a bus on one of the darkest days of the Franco regime and ends up a petty criminal. David (Javier Bardem) is an ex-policeman shot in the line of duty and is now a wheelchair basketball star. His wife Elena (Francesca Neri) is an ex-call girl and drug dealer-turned primary school educator. And finally, David’s alcoholic ex-partner Sancho (José Sancho) and his unfaithful wife Clara (Angela Molina). The film opens with the event that results in David’s injury before jumping forward to Victor’s release from prison and secrets from the past that will prove fatal to this troubled group.
A major shift in gear for Almodóvar, ‘Live Flesh’ is a perfect example of a noir-tinged thriller, employing the filmmaker’s signature palette of bold colours and featuring a top-notch cast who carry off the twists in some style.