Movie Review: Skin I Live In, The

Although it took me a few weeks to catch up with it, I was very much looking forward to Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In.  Besides being a fan of his work, from everything I had heard and seen it was going to be a twisted and dark feature version of the light and twisted TV show Nip/Tuck.  And I was right.

What I liked most about this film was that it had me guessing the entire time.  It is a rare feat to constantly have your audience on their toes, unsure of where you are going next.  And this film does this extremely well, while never feeling forced.  The script is a deliciously twisted tale of a plastic surgeon haunted by not only his wife’s passing from suicide because she was covered in burns, but also his daughter’s unraveling at the sight of this suicide – and what he thinks is a rape.  Almodovar does a superb job of pulling back the layers of this story, giving us information at just the right time.  Everything is answered, but not when we want it to be.

Elena Anaya was breathtaking.  One of the best looking human beings ever put to camera. I’ve seen pictures of her since and before, and she actually doesn’t compare to the woman who was captured with that film.  I’m guessing part of her physical perfection is that the point of her character is that she was literally hand carved by the best plastic surgeon in the world.  And it shows.  Her skin is glowing and soft and almost like porcelain.  Her body proportions are just right.  Everything about her – perfect.

I’m not a huge Antonio Banderas fan. He’s okay, but I can’t recall ever really liking a performance of his.  He’s very good here though. He’s calm, cool and calculating.  A very patient and devoted psychopath. When you think his opium addicted doctor is going to slip into rage he stays collected.  Never really losing his cool. No matter how long it takes he will get what he wants.

The film is a real mind-fuck. I found myself completely thrown off by what Doctor Robert winds up doing to a young man he captures.  The whole thing is disturbing in this Pedro Almodovar way.  You want to turn away, but you are too captivated by what is going on. And he doesn’t waste frames with any useless information or characters.  Everything is laid out and presented for a reason. It is, in my opinion, his best film to date.  And that is saying something for such a master craftsman.

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