Projections - Movie Reviews

Bad Education
Bad Education
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal and Fele Martinez

Pedro Almodovar’s sublimely febrile film noir, Bad Education, proves that he has a lot more to say about passion in human relationships.

A crimson tide permeates the look of this challenging, astute effort from the gay film maker who last excelled as the writer-director of Talk To Her.

He gets a multi-faceted performance from Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) who plays Ignacio, the boyhood amour of now new auteur Enrique (Fele Martinez). Ignacio is an actor wanting to be in the film adaptation of his autobiographical novel optioned by Enrique. But, the actor goes under a stage name and appears to be different, avoiding the allure of Enrique. Ignacio is somehow able to snag the role of a blackmailing transvestite that involves pederasty at a boarding school the kids attended.

The film may be Almodovar’s commentary on controversy that occurs in the Catholic Church in his native Spain, as well as in the United States, hitting a soft spot. But, Bad Education has a tender view toward what men will do for what they desire. A heartfelt pulse develops through what the cinema offers and this maturely bridges the raw emotion between noir and melodrama.

Enrique is almost a surrogate for Almodovar, and a complex web with flashbacks occurs as the movie is filmed. The mystery will tie together not only the priest and young Ignacio, but a determined actor and a junkie.

Bernal give his all for Almodovar, showing he can be a convincing transvestite and hustler in addition to another and Ignacio. There’s a lot going on in a film that leapfrogs around in time, not just backward and forward, and Bernal is just as compelling as he was as Ernesto “Che” Guevara who would become a Cuban revolutionary for Castro. In one role, his profile may have some thinking of a Spanish Julia Roberts.

There are the director’s trademark offbeat touches when it comes to sexuality and dark irony infused with wit, and he shows that he can take deadly sins like betrayal and lust to a new level. For those who’ve followed much of his highly successful career, Bad Education could very well be his most personal film to date. Yet, a suggestive shot of homoeroticism was a red flag for the ratings board which undermines what is heady and hypnotic, rather than graphic.

Bad Education

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