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Bad Education
DVD disk
04.22.2005 By: JaneBlo
Bad Education order
Director:
Pedro Almodóvar

Actors:
Gael García Bernal
Fele Martínez
Daniel Giménez Cacho

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Written and directed by the very talented Academy Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, this film tells the story of Ignacio Rodriguez, a young boy who grows up with a handful of issues and writes a script about it all when he grows up into a drag queen actor/writer who also wants to settle a few scores from his past. This emotional drama/thriller has as many twists and turns as it has film noir elements (desire, revenge, murder, blackmail) and offers a twisted yet insightful look into the human psyche.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I don’t usually love subtitled films, but sometimes they are so good that the subtitles don’t even bother me. Sadly, this film was not one of those. It had a few other strikes against it, mainly the many flashbacks which can get confusing for someone with a limited attention span as myself and the fact that the story is told in back and forth sequences. This film was a film within a film, and a script within a script, and the director of the film was being directed by the director, Almodovar, so this was not fun in my view, but annoying. It also was a bit too emotional and dramatic for my taste, but that said, it is an emotional drama so the film couldn’t help that, especially once you factor in the abusive priest. The final strike was the unexpected twist in the movie, because by that point, I had just started to piece it all together in my mind, and then bang!

Now I will mention a few things I did like about this film, for it wasn’t all bad. The story was quite entertaining once I started to get it, with the blackmail, the drag queens (what fabulous performances), the homosexuality, the abusive priest, so it was certainly not boring and it kept my interest throughout. The two main actors, Gael Garcia Bernal who plays Ignacio Rodriguez/Angel Andrada/Zahara and one other character that I can’t give away for it may be a spoiler, and Fele Martinez, who portrays his childhood friend Enrique Goded, the filmmaker who ends up liking Ignacio’s secret script and becomes his lover, are very talented and some would say very good-looking too. The script in the film is somewhat autobiographical and the parts of the film that are the script within the script were too frustrating for me, but hey, that’s just my opinion and others might love those same aspects of this film. It’s quite personal really.

Other good points were the cinematography, which was good, and the Spanish dialogue because it’s one of my favorite languages and it’s so beautiful to hear. And yes, Gael Garcia Bernal looks a lot like Julia Roberts when he is Zahara, the drag queen performer, especially in the first scene where he/she sings on stage.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Director/Writer Pedro Almodovar: You gotta like this man’s impish style, I mean calling his audio commentary “wanting to share some secrets with us” is cool. Unfortunately, this feature is in Spanish with English subtitles so it’s quite tedious to listen to. The director talks about every single aspect of the film’s making, and explains the similarities to his life, to Hitchcock films and much more.

Deleted Scenes: Two scenes one of which would have made the film quite a bit different had it not been cut. Five minutes long.

Red Carpet Footage from AFI Film Festival: A twenty minute long in-depth premiere with interviews with the director and main actor as well as Spanish movie star Penelope Cruz on the red carpet. Set over film noir music. This feature is inter-cut with many scenes from the movie.

Making of Bad Education: A strange "making of", less than 2 minutes long, silent, showing clips from the making of the film set to classical music. Enjoyable because it’s so short and sweet.

Photo Gallery Poster Explorations: A billion different versions of the film poster, “La Mala Educacion”, okay, about 42 versions actually. Cool feature.

Previews including the original Spanish theatrical trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If foreign “film noir” films are your cup of tea, you might like this one for it does have some choice moments and great acting and Pedro Almodovar certainly is a talented director. The DVD package offers loads of extra features for the huge Almodovar fan, or a fan of the actors/the movie.

However, if one has reservations about the not-too-simple storyline here, then one might have to reconsider renting this one, as I had trouble understanding some of it and perhaps that may be due to the foreign aspect of it, because I never had trouble understanding English film noirs. It really is a very personal choice, this is a hard film to pin down, and I myself felt lukewarm about it whereas others might love it or hate it. Rent or buy at your own discretion.
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