After the kitschy melodrama of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodóvar returns to the darker terrain of Law of Desire, concentrating on the relationship between soft-porn actress Marina (Abril) and the two men who try to control her. The more benign is her director in the movie-within-the-movie (Rabal), a genial, wheelchair-bound obsessive who leaves romantic messages on her answering machine and beguiles his lonely hours watching her masturbate on video. Less kindly are the attentions of Ricky (Banderas), recently released from a psychiatric hostel and determined to father Marina's children. He kidnaps her in her apartment, beats her up, and ties her to the bed while he goes out to score drugs for her. Almodóvar turns a standard hostage thriller into a grim examination of the power games implicit in marriage; Marina, addictive in all things, soon becomes a willing accomplice in Ricky's fantasy. Almodóvar withholds all comment, and many will hate his refusal to moralise; others will relish the opportunity to think for themselves. A very black comedy in the vein of Buñuel's Belle de Jour, and worthy of the comparison.
Cast and crew