HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Dark Habits Sisters Of Mercy
Year: 1983
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Cristina Sánchez Pascual, Julieta Serrano, Marisa Paredes, Carmen Maura, Chus Lampreave, Mary Carrillo, Lina Canalejas, Berta Riaza, Cecilia Roth, Marisa Tejada, Eva Siva, Will More, Laura Cepeda, Concha Grégori, Mariela Serrrano, Rubén Tobías
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Trash, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Yolanda (Cristina Sánchez Pascual) is a singer in a down at heel nightclub; it's not exactly near the top rungs of the showbiz ladder, but it's a job. Her boyfriend is not much help at home, however, being more interested in getting high on heroin, so when she brings some back for him she is not really expecting much thanks, and only secures it because she loves him, however misguided that may be. When he promptly keels over after injecting and dies thanks to the dose being contaminated, she panics, and goes to work as if nothing had happened: but something has, and the cops are on her trail. What to do? How about heading for the nearest convent and asking for sanctuary?

If this is sounding a little like the beginning of Sister Act, well, there's no proof that popular musical comedy was inspired by this lesser entry in the oeuvre of cult director Pedro Almodóvar, but it does look suspiciously similar. Whether that blockbuster could have been improved by Dame Maggie Smith shooting heroin and falling in love with Whoopi Goldberg is a moot point, but that's what happened here as Yolanda and the Mother Superior (Julieta Serrano) come to an arrangement where the fugitive can stay for as long as she feels she is able, or at least until the heat dies down, but things get complicated very quickly. It's not only those two who find this, as the other nuns each have their own quirks too.

For a long time Dark Habits, or Entre tinieblas as it was titled originally, was one of the most difficult of Almodóvar's films to see which was odd in itself since it was the director’s first aim for the mainstream after his punkier shorts and features before it. Yet there were rumours he was unhappy with how the work turned out, and did his best to move on from it - it's difficult not to note that star Pascual not only never worked for him again, but pretty much never worked for anyone else again either. Some claim her performance is the weak link here, as if she didn't quite grasp what was required of her, but she had been in previous of his efforts, and in truth she wasn't so bad, just not up to the task of bringing out the emotions that would appear to be the goal.

While there were funny bits and pieces here, it was not easily pigeonholed as one of the director's comedies, so no matter how outrageous the circumstances or events, the mournful tone tended to go against the humour: you don't laugh in church, do you? Not that these sisters were conventional in many ways, sure they were religious, but their self-flagellating viewpoint left them with those dark habits of the English-language title, such as their drugs problems, one nun (Chus Lampreave) channelling the sob stories of those they were meant to assist into bestselling, trashy, bonkbusting novels, and another (Carmen Maura) obsessed with her pet tiger to the exclusion of all else (incidentally, it's rather alarming to see this beast pawing at the actress for more meat treats as she continues to act through their scenes like the trouper she was).

The heart of this should have been the troubled love story between Yolanda and the Mother Superior, but the plot insisted on getting distracted by other matters, with the result this was a curious mix of the grimly whimsical and the melodramatic. Almodóvar became adept at that form of storytelling, so you could regard this as his baby steps towards his more accomplished achievements just around the corner, yet there was a strangely static nature to Dark Habits that saw its contentious subjects simply sit there without much confrontation, odd when this was a work that emerged from a strongly Catholic society so you may well have expected him to take such business by the scruff of the neck rather than mutedly toy with it. What was good to witness was his assembling of his regular players to whom he stayed loyal down the rest of his career, and there were occasional moments of inspiration, yet an uncertainty showed through too often for it to be anything but one for his dedicated fans who had to see everything he had conjured up.

[This title is included in the Blu-ray box set The Almodóvar Collection, with excellent prints of not only Dark Habits but also What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Kika and Flower of My Secret. Each disc has a featurette of interviews with selected cast members and their director, plus an introduction by an expert.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1819 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: