Pedro Almodóvar has to be one of the most interesting directors working today. Bad Education, released in 2004, is a vibrant and beguiling movie, mixing together film noir, melodrama and colourful characters to make something bittersweet and utterly gorgeous. Almodóva’s films are like a bucket of different coloured paints, swirled around to make something spectacular, out of the ordinary and almost hypnotic.
Gael García Bernal, a great young actor demonstrating true versatility in a terrific role, plays – rather aptly – a young actor, Ignacio, set on making it big in the movies. He visits movie director Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez), and claims that they used to be friends at a Catholic boarding school. Goded listens to what he has to say, and accepts his plea to read a film script he has been working on. Goded takes it home, reads it, and falls in love with it. It’s about his childhood, and how he fell in love with Ignacio when he was only about 11 years old.
The film plays out in an unconventional style, occasionally making it hard to tell what is fact and what is fiction. But there’s a twist in the tale that’s teased out tantalisingly as we approach the surprising conclusion. Almodóvar’s films may not always be initially inviting, but this develops into something rather extraordinary and very hard to describe. Some won’t like the eccentric tone, but if you stick with it, particularly through the confusing moments, hopefully you’ll find it as rewarding and richly enjoyable as I did.
Bad Education (2004), directed by Pedro Almodóvar, is available on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, certificate 15, or part of their Almodóvar Collection.