Paz Vega creates the steamiest Carmen ever in this gorgeous period drama. She brings the character to life. This isn't Bizet's Carmen, though. This one takes impulsiveness and fiery temper to extremes, and combines that volatile mix with a personality that seems to interact with others only to manipulate them. Then, with raw sensuality as her lure and reward, she brings out the same in men, not just poor José.
The settings come to life almost as much as the characters - that cavernous cigar factory at the start, the cities of nineteenth century Spain (but much older), and the rocky, raw wilds ruled by bandits. Award-winning costumes help too, including gaudy soldier's uniforms, and elaborate recreations of women's clothes, down to humble details like drawers.
Don't expect to like these characters. José's military honor implodes, leaving a shell of murderous jealousy. Carmen herself - kissing a viper seems safer. Not even the lush promise of her body makes that look like such a good deal. Nice people don't make good drama, and these are very dramatic. Recommended, but not for the skin-shy.