The Skin I Live In (2011)

skinilivein_2011_poster
The Skin I Live In (2011)
  • Time: 117 min
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes

Storyline:

In Toledo, the scientist and surgeon Dr. Robert Ledgard is researching a synthetic skin capable to resist fire and any harm after the death of his beloved wife, who was burnt in a car accident. He is isolated in his mansion with his maid Marilia and his mysterious subject Vera Cruz, who is testing his experiment but is locked in her room. After the assault of the thug Zeca, who raped Vera, Robert has a nightmare with his daughter Norma, who was raped in a party by the youngster Vicente and committed suicide later. Robert plots a scheme to revenge his daughter that has begun with the abduction of Vicente. What is the connection between Vicente and Vera?

One review

  • From the mind of one of Spain premier film director, Pedro Almodovar, is The Skin I Live In, a very compelling and interesting psychological thriller that oozes style and themes that will keep you engrossed throughout.

    Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a skilled plastic surgeon who is attempting to make a synthetic skin that is tougher then nature human skin, with the hope that it would cure burn injuries and stop malaria. At his remote home/clinic he has only one patient, Vera (Elena Anaya) who uses as a guinea pig and keeps her under lock and key. Robert is also a man who has had pain in his life, his wife had server burns and commits suicide and so does his daughter Norma (Blanca Suarez). Soon the film explores how the strange relationship between Robert and Vera began.

    The Skin I Live In is film filled with twists and turns and goes in many different directions, from being a medical/psychological mystery to turning into a twisted revenge film. Almodovar uses a non-linear narrative, with the first and final thirds are set in the present and the middle made as a flashback and the director is able to bring all these elements together by the end. The Skin I Live In starts as a film that seems to be asking medical ethics questions about what is it right to do morally dubious acts, to an examination of sexual obsession and violence and to the forming an elaborate revenge scheme which results in a body shock, Stockholm syndrome and sexual and personal identity. The only other Almodovar film I have seen was Bad Education and there are similar ideas of sexual identity and sexual violence and also uses a non-linear style, but I preferred The Skin I Live In.

    The characters are all morally dubious, with complex issues and background. There is a lot of ambiguity with all of them. The Skin I Live In has a fantastic screenplay behind it as it brings out all these moral ambiguities and themes to great effect and Almodovar was able to direct it with the right amount of pacing and there was tension throughout. There are some great camera and visual tricks and there Almodvar has no holds bars to sex and violence and it actually surprising it got a 15 rating when it could have easily gotten an 18.

    They is a strong cast with actors and Banderas has to show his range with his very complex role. Anaya is strong actress and a very attractive woman and there was no weak links. I like Suarez’s performance as shy and sheltered girl who shows an interest in a young man and I loved her naivety, but I thought it was too comical when she is psychologically traumatised and hides in cupboard: it just felt over the top and silly and is one of the few weak links in the writing.

    There are plenty of twisted ideas throughout the film that will stick in your head, one of the main ones being Robert has been making Vera to look like his decreased wife and his unhealthy obsession as he watches her and slowing gives into his passions. But going any further would lead into spoilers.

    The Skin I Live In is a really engrossing film, a great blend of psychological drama and thriller with a real art-house approach to it. It is an inventive and original film that will hold your attention and keep you interested.

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