This movie is rated NC-17, and I never thought I'd say that I actually enjoyed a movie rated, NC-17, but this movie takes you through so much, that you can't help but enjoy it. There are different aspects to what's going on with the characters. And there's a layering of 3 different stories at several points. It starts with the external story with Enrique and Ignacio, who now goes by Angel, meeting again for the first time in years. Then, a second layer develops when Angel gives Enrique a script or short story about their childhood to possibly develop (Enrique is a director, Angel is an actor). The third layer comes in within that short story in the form of blackmail about a character's past. Towards the end of the movie, when the previous internal layers have wrapped up, there's a new internal layer correcting some of the details of the other story. It can all get confusing, but if you can keep track of what layer you're in (pay attention to Gael Garcia Bernal) it's not too hard to follow. The story itself, has a few of the similar themes of Almodovar's other movies: sex, transvestism, prostitution, religion. But this movie throws religion in deep, with a priest, and there isn't a woman to be found in this movie. It's rated NC-17 due to a bit of explicit sex, though there's no actual full frontal. There's a lot of drug use, and some pretty nasty language, even in translation.
A very good, yet very twisted movie. It supposedly represents part of Almodovar's childhood along with Volver.