The Skin I Live In

"Excellent"

The Skin I Live In Review


With his bold, assured filmmaking style and heavy echoes of Hitchcock's Vertigo, Almodovar creates a lean, twisty thriller that plays with issues of revenge and identity in very dark ways.

Robert (Banderas) is a skin-transplant specialist who goes against bioethics rules to experiment on a new kind of skin for Vera (Anaya), a young woman he keeps trapped in his home and cares for with the help of his childhood nanny Marilia (Paredes). But everyone has a secret, and Robert's relates to a young man (Cornet) he kidnapped six years earlier following an incident that drove his teen daughter (Suarez) to suicide. Actually, all of this started much earlier when Robert's wife was horribly burned in a car accident.

Almodovar reveals the lurid story strands out of sequence, then weaves them into a series of progressively startling revelations. And the gonzo elements of the plot are played dead straight, without any histrionics, as Almodovar continues to crank up the intensity right to the strangely blunt finale. Along the way, he explores the film's opening thesis, that the face gives us our identity, by gleefully stirring in some extremely provocative sexuality.

Everyone in the cast is terrific, maintaining almost blank-slate faces throughout the film that only let us see glimpses of the deep currents of emotion that drive the story forward. As the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, our sympathies lie with both Banderas' Robert and Anaya's Vera, especially as their enmity shifts uneasily into trust and respect and even more. Paredes is superb as usual, and Alamo has an unforgettable role as her crazed tiger-costumed son.

While the flurry of emotions and morality make us think about the issues at hand, it's the churning suspense that makes this film so enjoyable. As expected, the camerawork (by Jose Luis Alcaine) and music (Alberto Iglesias) are exceptional, as is Antxon Gomez's clever production design, which subtly uses colours and shading to tell us what these people can't say. Essentially it's a bonkers story of revenge that takes more than a few gasp-worthy twists.

And the fact that Almodovar never over-eggs things makes it that much more effective.



The Skin I Live In

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd September 2011

Box Office USA: $3.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $5.8M

Budget: $13M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: El Deseo, Televisión Española TVE, Canal+ España, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), FilmNation Entertainment, Blue Haze Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 132 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Doctor Robert Ledgard, as Vera Cruz, as Marilia, as Vicente, Roberto Álamo as Zeca, Eduard Fernández as Fulgencio, José Gómez as Presidente del Instituto de Biotecnología, as Norma Ledgard, Susi Sánchez as Madre de Vicente, Bárbara Lennie as Cristina, Fernando Cayo as Médico, Chema Ruiz as Policía, as Cantante, Ana Mena as Norma joven, Teresa Manresa as Casilda Efraiz, as Agustín, Miguel Almodóvar as Hijo de Agustín, Marta R. Mahou as Profesora de Yoga en TV

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