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Live Flesh review

Pedro Almodovar's (he writes and directs the proceedings) vivid and highly imaginative Spanish interpretation of Ruth Rendell's novel of the same name proves that the Queen Of Crime has never been steamier. Young and impressionable Victor (Liberto Rabal) falls for the fiery Elena (Francesca Neri). During a drugs-related scuffle, a policeman (Javier Bardem) is shot and left paralysed. Victor is blamed and flung into jail. On his release, he seeks out Elena, only to find that she's unhappily married to the crippled cop. Copious amounts of body grinding and jealousy ensue.

Almodovar knits it all together in his usual boldly visual way, employing the same kind of striking imagery that distinguished Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and Women On The Edge Of A Nervous Breakdown, and turning a psychological crime-thriller into an intelligent, yet sexy, study of fate and relationships. Poignant, delightful to watch and crackling with unashamed carnal desire, Live Flesh makes for powerful and unforgettable cinema. Seldom is arthouse this entertaining.

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