Written & Directed By: Pedro Almodovar
Cinematography By: Jose Luis Alcaine
Editor: Jose Alcedo
Music By: Alberto Iglesias
Cast: Hugo Silva, Antonio De La Torre, Javier Camara, Miguel Andre Silvestre, Cecilia Roth, Blanca Suarez, Paz Vega, Carmen Machi, Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Laya Marti
A technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death.
The film comes off more like a scandalous play. As the characters spill their secrets very easily and quickly to those around them. The film offers only thinly held together reasons as to why.
The comedy is over the top, but rarely this scattershot and lazy in Almodovar films. The humor feels so easy, obvious and low brow. Like a more gay themed version of a dude or bro type comedy. As for the sexual nature and non chalant use of it.
That is chock full of soap opera melodramatic type situations. As well as what look like fake sets, fashion, character twists and situations.
Almost reminding the audience of an episode of the show DEVIOUS MAIDS. Only without the big cast of sexy beautiful women. Though on par for the sexual scandals in action. the cast is more middle aged. Though they are attractive.
The characters are like the jokes. At first you believe they will have some kind of depth, but end up twisted and quirky stereotypes to a degree.
All of this is done in grand fashion though for the most part keeping most of the action to a degree in a single location. Though luckily the film does provide grander endeavors for us to be outside of the plane. Opening it up to a degree from it’s confines.
Director Pedro Almodovar has dealt with material like this before, only he has done it better. Here it is a nice return, but feels like one of Woody Allen’s late scripts. Where he tries to go for the feel of his previous work, but maybe he has been doing such hard hitting dramas and thrillers for too long. This feels slight and he isn’t able to fit back into the material like a glove. Instead it feels desperate. Like he knows it is silly but wants it to have a kind of meaning in the end. This comes off as one of his most lightweight films. That seems like either he had nothing to say or after such a hard wrought heavy resume of films recently. He wanted to do something simple, easy and a bit experimental. Which also reminds the audience of his colorful flair.
He even has the most famous of his regular actors from his films. Appear in cameos in the opening Scene to help set up the problem that sets the films plot in motion.
There are many references to Pedro Almodovar ‘s universe throughout the film. The name of the plane is Chavela Blanca, in clear reference to Pedro’s beloved singer and friend Chavela Vargas and to another of his most cherished friends, the late Blanca Sanchez. The air company Peninsula is shortened in the plane top wing as Pe, PenelopeCruz ‘s renowned nickname.
The film manages to be outrageous even amid it’s own camp sensibilities.
The story could have gone either way dramatically or comedically. I only wish that the film was more engaging and not so prone to an outrageous extreme usually. As there are some truly heartbreaking, tender and poetic moments that get lost or quickly forgotten amongst the other more comedic scenes. That one wishes he would have delved into a bit more to make the film and it’s tone feel a bit more substantial. Though by the end everything strangely works.
Though eventually the sex seems there to add action and outrageousness shock. To keep the film unpredictable. Eventually develops visually that so far was only talked about and discussed.
Not necessarily nudity filled but sexually graphic. Stopping short of action of all kinds. Settling for some with no penetration shown.
Trust me not as controversial as some of his films from the past. That would hardly bay an eyelash now
The film is compact not as rich or expressive as his previous films. Though plenty of camera work and change of tone. You know constantly where it is going.
The film has no boundaries