Bad Education (2004)

In Film on January 24, 2005 at 7:58 pm


I really enjoy Pedro Almodóvar latest film Bad Education! I went into the theatre without knowledge of the plot, since the trailer is so short and ambiguous so I didn’t know what to expect other than a colorful Almodóvar treat. Turns out it’s a top-notched, carefully crafted Film Noir + Hitchcockian thriller (with tranny & homosexual themes). Unlike the many of his stories about women, this time it’s all male~ The first half introduces the reunion of two childhood friends who attend a Catholic boarding school back in the Franco 70s. Now in the early 80s, Enrique was an up-and-coming filmmaker, while the other, Ignacio, was a desperate actor who wrote a screenplay based on their childhood school experience. He hoped Enrique would film it and cast him as the lead.

As Almodóvar as it gets, we have a story within a story, an intriguing fiction vs. reality scenario. The 1st half is a captivating drama with flashbacks about the boys in school days, with the young Ignacio being sexual abused by the predatory Father Manolo (principal of the school) who seperate the two boys because he was jealous of their budding relationship. Then as the grown up Enrique began to suspect the grown up ‘Ignacio’, whom he couldn’t connect to the boy he used to love in the past, Enrique is more determined to find out the motives and mystery through initiating an intimate sexual relationship with Ignacio. Slowly we gained insights on the real identity + reality of the grown up Ignacio, and what becomes of Father Manolo. The second half of the film become a mystery thriller about murder, blackmail, revenge and borrowed identity. Apparently the drama at first half is grand set up for the heartbreaking grand revelation.


Both of two male leads, Gael García Bernal (the actor) and Fele Martínez (the filmmaker) are eye candies! 😀 Especially the naked swimming pool scene. Actually as a hetero girl I’m more attracted to Fele Martinez. He looks like a taller and cuter version of a young Gary Oldman…the resemblence is uncanny. He looked good in rock outfit (perhaps he’s Almodóvar’s idealized alter-ego self?). Gael is a bit too bubbly cute as the supposedly ‘femme fatale‘ character; though his vulnerable, puppy dog boyish cuteness sure enhance the ‘twist’. Though in his non-stage drag with that 80s blonde curl, he looked a bit like a 80s hair metal dude ^^;;; But really, Gael go pretty all out in this film transforming into multiple roles and doing it all in various sexual positions X-D. The actor who played the Priest is also very good.

The very nice opening title sequence felt Saul Bass + Hitchcock style (even with a haunting Bernard Hermann-ish score). That should saids it all, think ‘Vertigo‘ (*hint hint*!!!). It has the quintessential Hitchcock themes: role-playing, dubious identities, posters/paintings on wall, fiction vs reality. It’s Almodóvar’s omage to Hitchcock.

  1. i just watched this the other night and i still can’t get over it. me and my friends are fans of gael and we just have to watch this. i really like your review. its very clear and concise..c:

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