Film Review: The Skin I Live InFan The Fire Recommends

Posted in Film, Recommended, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 22 Aug 2011

It’s only after a summer of excess that the film indus­try’s real gems show their face. And with the Oscar season ready to hit in the States, Pedro Almodovar gets the jump on his com­petition with a wonder picture that makes even Transformers 3 worth the pain. Loosely based on Thierry Jonquet’s Taran­tula, and adapted himself by writer/director Almo­dovar, The Skin I Live In is a dark and fearsome tale of obsession, greed and brilliance.

After developing a new type of synthetic skin, impervious to damage and fire, plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Banderas) claims to have only tested the new man-made biology on mice but looking deeper reveals a much darker secret hid­den behind closed doors.

Though the narra­tive struggles to really pull you in in the opening salvo, once The Skin I Live In gets going, you’ll find it impossible to take your eyes off the screen. As the complexities of the char­acters and the darker side of the plot start to reveal themselves, everything suddenly clicks into place and the second and third acts are utterly gripping.

With as much on of­fer under the surface as is explored more directly in the plot, tonally The Skin I Live In draws comparisons to the wonderful Oldboy. Almodovar was able to craft a feeling of unease; you know something’s wrong, but never quite what.

This is a smart, com­plex and intelligent mov­ie, from a filmmaker at the top of his game. Ban­deras delivers a cultured performance, though really the full ensemble deserve great credit. The Skin I Live In is like noth­ing you’ll see a ll year – it’s a horror film with no real scares – and a unique piece of cinema every­one should search out, especially if that means venturing away from your usual multiplex.

4/5

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