You never know what you're going to expect when you watch this quirky Spanish flick. There are some obvious moments that are (Pedro) Almodavar and some are (Julio) Medem, which should come as no surprise as the actors in this show have worked with the above directors. Sex, suspense, comedy, drama - it's all here rolled into one. In its English title it sounds like a porno, in its camera-work it feels like a Hispanic melodrama, and in its soundtrack and direction its pure vintage Hitchcock, but this film is none of those things. It is a highly engaging and suspenseful thriller, which although borrowing much from the genre that it inhabits, stands on its own two feet as an oddly original piece of work.
Although the film is all about sex it is neither erotic nor pornographic, but intelligently scripted and all of the sex scenes are visually mild. Instead, it is about the repercussions of sexual relationships, which is explored through the eyes of two "sex addicts" who meet in an anonymous therapy session. Their relationships with significant friends and family around them begin to break down in the face of their lust and love, and an overzealous spouse and an unfortunate murder leads them perfectly into fairly traditional thriller territory. The suspense is kept up throughout and I found myself glued to the set. There are plenty of little surprises to keep you entertained, and plenty of twists to keep you guessing.
The cinematography is stunning---one of the most beautifully shot and constructed urban thrillers I've seen from any country. In terms of atmosphere, it's unforgettable the character in the rain, in the shadows of alleyways, the iridescent shimmering interiors (shot in some beautifully seedy Spanish settings).
Javiar Bardem is great as usual and Victoria Abril was fantastic in her role, she definitely carries the film here. I highly recommend this.