Movie Review: "The Skin I Live In"

Movie Review: "The Skin I Live In"

Summary: Plastic surgeon Dr.

Published October 12, 2011

Summary : Plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas ) is grieving over the death of his wife, who perished in a car crash. He is obsessed with creating a new skin that could’ve saved her. However, in order to create this unheard-of assault-resistant skin, he needs a human experiment.

Review : Legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is one of the most edgy filmmakers in cinematic history. Films like Bad Education and All About My Mother are known for jaw-dropping plot twists with celluloid glam. Some filmmakers have all edge and no technical abilities or all technical and no edge, Almodovar is an eerie combo of both — "eerie" being the operative word, especially in his 18th and latest feature film.

Complex, unpredictable and certainly unforgettable, The Skin I Live In gets a perfect ten for originality, which is rare in today's remixed and remade flicks.  But there is a laborious journey to reach the perfect ten. In the first hour, the viewer is not sure where Almodovar is going, with an imprisoned woman in flesh-colored clothes, a nosy maid, a disturbed daughter, it's easy to feel lost in the Oscar winner's mind. However, Almodovar is a director you must trust , no matter how many times you ask, “What the hell is going on?”

By the second half, you are knocked off your feet with arguably one of the best plot twists in the past ten years of movie-making—Almodovar ups the sicko factor. The woman next to me shook her head and said, "Oh my, God! No, he didn't!" Almodovar twisted the story, which was written by him and based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel, Tarantula , into an over-the-top psychotic shocker.

The Skin I Live In reunited Almodovar with Antonio Banderas, who he hasn't work with in over 20 years.  A flock of other Almodovar regulars packed the film for roles that include a mentally ill daughter, a loyal maid, a rapist and other quirks in between. Each actor delivers, but Almodovar's films are never about the stars; it's always about his bizarre and unique vision.

The film's only flaw is the arduous first half. It's as if you are lost in the middle of a novel and have no idea where the story started or where it will go. One could argue that the Volver director could’ve made the first hour more engaging — the epic set-up might completely turn off audiences. However, Pedro does things his way. And this time around, Almodovar managed to go "horror science-fiction drama" with an ending that is worth the wait.

The Skin I Live In is in theaters Friday.

Written by Clay Cane


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