‘Law of Desire’

Arguably his international breakthrough film, Law of Desire set writer/director Pedro Almodóvar on a 15 year journey of sexually risque, funny yet sublimely passionate melodramas and introduced to the world a (young) Antonio Banderas.

Obsessed by successful gay filmmaker Pablo Quintero (Eusebio Poncela – Martín (Hache), Matador), the violently jealous Banderas looks to marginalise the absent Juan, Quintero’s young lover. The filmmaker is high on a stream of successes: his latest is to be loosely based on the life of his transsexual sister, Tina (Carmen Maura – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Volver). As Pablo (who himself has an insatiable, often selfish, sexual appetite) fights off increasingly disturbing demands from Banderas, Tina herself has problems with men. It’s these struggles that are the emotional core of the film.

Anarchic and extreme, Law of Desire builds to a crushing idiosyncratic finale. Add Almodóvar’s love of excess in colour and a subterranean, camp sense of humour and Law of Desire ultimately runs away with itself. It’s silly and a complete mess involving murder and complete mayhem. Entertaining silliness. But still a mess.

Rating: 52%

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