Bad Education

"Good"

Bad Education Review


What I've always enjoyed most about the films of Spanish cinema provocateur Pedro Almodóvar is that his idiosyncratic, sexually ironic, deeply consequential trademarked twists of fate never cease to surprise me. Characters are always more complex than they first seem. Relationships are always intricate and knotted with intimate humanity. And his stories regularly take sudden left turns or accelerate unexpectedly from a pleasant trot to a reign-gripping gallop.

There's no predicting the heart, the humor or the horror of the writer-director behind the hilarious "Women of the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," the kinky "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down" and the affecting "All About My Mother" -- and in "Bad Education" he creates a wily, passionate puzzle several layers deep in both personality and plot.

Fele Martinez (who also starred in "Talk to Her" for Almodóvar in 2002) plays Enrique, a wunderkind movie director whose high-profile early success in life begets an unsolicited intrusion from Ignacio (Gael Garcia Bernal), a seemingly forgotten childhood friend from Catholic school who is now a bad actor (you can tell just from his cheesy head-shots) with a script to pitch and a burning desire to play his own cross-dressing lead character.

Enrique politely tries to dismiss the interloper -- until he discovers the autobiographical story revolves around the turn Ignacio's life took after the two boys' pubescent mutual attraction was broken up by a sexually abusive priest who had them both under his thumb. A deal is struck, and as the movie-within-a-movie develops, becoming intertwined with the film's reality, Ignacio's insinuation into Enrique's life becomes increasingly disconcerting.

A complicated construct of fictionalization and flashbacks, "Bad Education" soon reveals Ignacio's rancorously colorful past as a junkie/whore transsexual (in drag Bernal looks a lot like Juliette Lewis) -- and under Almodóvar's steady hand the story evolves from a bittersweet dramedy (with hints of stalker-thriller potential) into more of a deliciously Technicolor noir flick, complete with conspiracy, murder, suicide, blackmail and ambiguous characters who are not at all what they seem.

Bernal rises to the occasion with an intrepid, unpredictable, carefully nuanced yet slightly brassy performance, as vivid as anything in Almodóvar's famously color-saturated imagery. Temperate Martinez provides a perfect counterbalance, often revealing without words Enrique's doubts about Ignacio, or Enrique's desire to make their film together as a way of getting inside his old friend's head after certain unsettling secrets come to light.

As with most Almodóvar movies, at times these characters seem so psychologically screwed up that any rational person can't help but second-guess their behavior -- and as with most Almodóvar movies, that can become a distraction. But the ebullience with which this distinctive writer-director invariably tackles his subjects can also be contagious -- and as with most Almodóvar movies, that's enough to sidestep any misgiving about "Bad Education" and just enjoy the mastery of the man's imaginative and eccentric storytelling.

(PS: The NC-17 rating on this film is absurd. Had the same sex scenes included women -- even two women -- the MPAA wouldn't have blinked an eye.)



Bad Education

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th March 2004

Box Office USA: $5.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $40.3M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Canal+ España, El Deseo S.A., Televisión Española TVE

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 121 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ángel/Juan/Zahara, as Enrique, as Padre Manolo, as Sr. Manuel Berenguer, as Padre José, as Ignacio, Nacho Pérez as Young Ignacio, Raúl García Forneiro as Young Enrique, as Paca/Paquito, as Enrique Serrano, as Mónica, as Madre, Roberto Hoyas as Camarero, as Enrique's pool attendant (uncredited), as Pool cleaner (uncredited), Sara Montiel as Soledad (archive footage) (uncredited), Pau Poch as Niño (uncredited), as Martín

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Advertisement
Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.