Pedro AlmodóvarSpain110 minutes1986ColourSpanish
A death-obsessed former matador and a man-killing lawyer are brought fatefully together, in Almodóvar's Hitchcockian blend of dark comedy and atmospheric thriller.
Of all Almodóvar's early films, Matador most closely resembles his post-millennium work in its Hitchcockian straddling of the line between comedy and dark thriller. We are introduced to Diego Montes (Nacho Martinez), a death-obsessed former matador, as he furiously pleasures himself to slasher films; lawyer María (Assumpta Serna), meanwhile, is first seen as she seduces and spears a lover, picador-style. Clearly these two are destined for one another, and they are duly brought together by Diego's bullfighting student Ángel (Antonio Banderas), a shy young man who turns to sexual assault to impress his mentor. When the bewildered boy is further implicated in a series of recent murders, Maria offers to defend him, giving her an excuse to approach Diego and target him as her next victim — or is it the other way around? "Murder, mutilation, suicide and rape [are] just a few of Matador's popcorn-incompatible themes. But the Spanish director swirls his cape over these chargers so imaginatively, shamelessly and inventively, his flamboyance wins the day" (The Washington Post).