Volver - Don't Return

Duration: 121min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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I know I am in the minority for not adoring Almodóvar. While I never despise his films, they rarely truly entertain me. As usual, Volver, although adored by cinefiles and critics, leaves me a little cold.

I find so much about Volver ridiculous. Sure, I can accept an absurd premise. If done well, I can really enjoy one. I don’t feel this time, the execution of this was very good.

I can’t speak more about the premise without ruining the film. Suffice it to say that the whole “mystery” that Volver turns on was one I saw coming within the first 15 minutes of the film. That always disappoints me. The big reveals at the end were all things I was expecting and I wanted to be more surprised.

The truly surprising thing about Volver is that Almodóvar fans can’t see these supposed “twists” coming. It’s not like any of them are new to his work. These are themes he returns to over and over again and I think it would be more shocking for him to make a film that didn’t involve these things.

I wish I could have got into it. The story itself is a somewhat interesting one. But I never could believe the motivations of the characters. The film seems to rush through a bit and therefore no one ever really takes the time to adjust to their surroundings. Their reactions seem false or forced. Especially when you are dealing with something this unbelievable, I needed to be convinced of what I was seeing and I honestly never was. There are too many coincidences. Too many all too convenient happenings. In a story like this, the film maker has to sell it a lot better.

What I can say was great about Volver was a bit of a surprise for me. Penélope Cruz does give a very strong performance, just as the critics are saying. I say this is surprising because I normally find her very bland. Sure she’s incredibly hot, but her performances are usually very bland. Here she is dead on, still very hot, and the only thing worth seeing in the whole film.

The director’s fans are going to continue their love fest with Volver but if he’s not your thing then skip this little fable.

Review By: Collin Smith

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