Penélope Cruz stars as an actress who sacrifices everything for true love in "Broken Embraces," a story of love, dominated by fatality, jealousy, the abuse of power, treachery, and a guilt complex. The story follows a man who writes, lives, and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car crash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he not only lost his sight, he also lost Lena (Cruz), the love of his life. The man uses two names: Harry Caine, a playful pseudonym with which he signs his literary works, stories, and scripts, and Mateo Blanco, his real name, with which he lives and signs the films he directs. After the accident, Mateo Blanco reduces himself to his pseudonym, Harry Caine. If he can't direct films, he can only survive with the idea that Mateo Blanco died on Lanzarote with his beloved Lena. (Gary Reber)
Special features include "The Cannibalistic Councillor" (La Concejala Antopofaga), an original short film by Pedro Almodovar (SD 7:34); three deleted scenes (HD 12:20); the "Pedro Directs Penélope" featurette (SD 05:52); "On The Red Carpet: The New York Film Festival Closing Night" featurette (HD 03:13); Variety Q&A with Penélope Cruz (HD 06:18)l; the theatrical trailer; previews; and BD Live functionality.
The 1080p 2.35:1 AVC picture is nicely rendered with a warm, rich color palette in which the imagery appears absolutely natural. Hues are often vivid and blacks are solid. Shadow delineation also is excellent and revealing of depth. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. Resolution is good and generally soft, with appropriate artistic displays of softness. Close-ups reveal fine facial features and object textures, such as clothing. The bed scene, with the two main actors rustling under white sheets, is beautifully photographed, revealing even the thread count of the sheets in contrast to the natural fleshtones. This is a wonderfully cinematic picture that projects warm and rich natural colors that are engaging. (Gary Reber)
The Spanish-lanugage DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is strictly conventional with a basic monaural presence, except for the wonderful music score and occasional atmospheric sound effects. The music is well recorded with a wide and deep soundstage that extends well into the surrounds. At times deep bass extends to below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. Atmospheric effects can also be heard at times in the surrounds, which enhances the sense of scene depth. Dialogue sounds forward and generally is not well integrated spatially. Still, the overall soundtrack presence is pleasant and projects a definite foreign film feel. (Gary Reber)