The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5)
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2:35.1
Audio Format(s): Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: PenÃ©lope Cruz, LluÃ*s Homar, Blanca Portillo, JosÃ© Luis GÃ³mez
Directed by: Pedro AlmodÃ³var
Music by: Alberto Iglesias
Written by: Pedro AlmodÃ³var
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 16, 2010
"It's best not to open that can of worms."
A man writes, lives and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car rash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he not only lost his sight, he also lost the love of his life.
When the mistress (PenÃ©lope Cruz) of an older extremely wealthy man decides to try her hand at acting, she meets and falls for the love of her life, the movies Director, Mateo Blanco. After a terrible accident, Blanco loses her and his sight, escaping the reality of what has happened he becomes his pseudonym, Harry Caine. 14 years later, Caine has a surprise visitor who sparks memories of his lost love. While the truth unravels, the doors of redemption open to those involved.
Broken Embraces is a unique film, like most of Pedro AlmodÃ³var's (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Volver) work. It's the story of a forbidden love, redemption and fate. Told out of sequence and by flashbacks; mystery and suspense are built as the story unfolds. If it were to have been told in a linear fashion, Broken Embraces would have been a wonderfully filmed but non-effective movie. The unfortunate part was when all the possibilities of intrigue were over, the experience the first 110 minutes gave me seemed in vein. I was captivated by how stunning this film looked, and how well directed and acted it was. The 2 hour runtime flew by, but I was ultimately left with an empty feeling once all was revealed. If the film didn't dance around being a 'thriller', then it might have worked a bit better. Broken Embraces is not Pedro AlmodÃ³var best work, but is a worthy addition to his superb catalog.
Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Broken Embraces comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an Average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
Broken Embraces is a great looking film. Every shot AlmodÃ³var films seems deliberate, care and craft are apparent. This crosses over into Sony's release; it is one of the most beautiful films I have seen on Blu-ray. A deep and natural color pallet leaves nothing to hide. Details and textures are not only discernible, they are used often and look spectacular. Black levels and flesh tones are superb and no issues stuck out. The DTS-HD MA track seemed effortless. The mix was mature and refined, not relying on over blown dynamics for effect. When music kicks in it accents the story, never overpowering the sound-stage. I do not speak Spanish so I cannot comment on dialogue, though it seemed that it was the most important part of the track and always upfront. The best way to describe what I was hearing is that it was inviting and comfortable.
* CIH users should note that the subtitles appear below the picture area *
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) Pedro Directs PenÃ©lope (5:52)
- (HD) Variety Q&A with PenÃ©lope Cruz (6:18)
- (HD) "The Cannibalistic Councilor" a short film by Pedro AlmodÃ³var (7:34)
- (HD) On the Red Carpet: The New Your Film Festival Closing Night (3:13)
Broken Embraces is a haunting journey of a doomed love affair. The grip it had when it moonlighted as a thriller were it's best moments, unfortunately that was short lived and the story didn't go in the direction it was hinting. However, it is a gripping tale that is wonderfully acted, directed and quite beautiful to look at. I would have liked to see a directors commentary included from such a highly regarded filmmaker. It is annoying that the subtitles are below the image for people who have cinema-scope set-ups. The supplements are a bit underwhelming, but all are worth a watch. I can easily recommend a rental and for AlmodÃ³var fans who have not yet seen this, a purchase.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer